Ventilation in Buildings

Ventilation is the process by which fresh air moved around the building. Good ventilation is essential for the comfort and safety of building occupants, and in many cases subject to a legal minimum requirement.

Assessors will need to be aware of the different types of ventilation systems in operation in the building. These may be uniform throughout the building or differ for different areas (zones) of the building for example the kitchen and toilets.

Locate the varying mechanisms for ventilation in your building and point these out to your assessor on the site visit.

Ventilation methods

Ventilation can be provided through a number of methods, the most energy efficient being a natural ventilation strategy. This requires specific design features to be included within the building to ensure that there is a source of fresh air and a path for a measured amount of stale air to escape. The simplest form of natural ventilation is through open windows, or through window trickle vents.

Where a natural ventilation strategy is not possible either due to increased air flow rates required, or a demand for cooling, mechanical ventilation or a full air conditioned strategy is required. This is much more energy intensive due to the nature of the equipment (e.g. Fans) required to move air around the building. It is possible to mix a natural and mechanical ventilation strategy to achieve 'mixed mode' striking a balance between energy performance and comfort.

Higher densities of people, IT equipment and lighting contribute to heat gain which requires ventilation to remove stale air, maintaining a measured level of fresh air supplied to a building. In order to maintain a desired temperature heating and cooling systems have to work harder with an ineffective ventilation system in place.

Further information on ventilation