Attaining energy efficiency in buildings is ascertaining that the usage of energy in your building has been optimized to ensure that it is not ruinous or ungoverned, but rather well modulated and properly sustainable. The implications of energy efficient design are realized at the point whereby huge economies are made in the developed surroundings simply because of the easy energy saving standards that have been set up in place.
Achieving Energy Efficiency Through Natural Ventilation For Thermal Comfort
In the developed world, plenty of buildings have been designed with an emphasis on provision of space that maximizes on views and optimal space usage. This philosophy of design means that emphasis is placed on office usable areas and ancillary spaces may be zoned near building central cores, distant from natural light and ventilation. These spaces therefore have to rely on mechanical ventilation for them to work.
Reliance on artificial ventilation is not energy efficiency in design
However an intrinsic weakness of this model is its reliance on energy to ensure it works as required. Should there be a power failure, such facilities could cause inconvenience due to smell and noxious gases deep within the interior of the building. In addition, there is a lack of air flowing naturally deep into the spaces, which could again pose a challenge should there be any breakdown in the artificial ventilation systems employed.
A basic element that all buildings need to seek to create is the creation of fresh air flow within buildings. This is necessary so as to achieve comfortable indoor temperature that is within human comfort limits, as well as provision of clean fresh air for individuals to breathe within the building. All air handling systems within buildings are created to enhance this air flow if it is unable to be dealt with naturally within the building.
Today’s buildings have become larger and more sophisticated than in the past, and many modern day developers are interested in offering huge internal spaces for commercial developments. It is commonplace to see mega malls that are completely internal in their orientation, having very few external openings in proportion to the building’s size. Office spaces compete to offer best views and daylight within a space, with a view to optimize on lettable area.
Design trends that shun natural ventilation methods invariably place a major demand on the need to artificially enhance the flow of fresh and clean air within the interiors of such buildings. The means to achieve this is use of artificial air conditioning systems that will circulate air within building interiors. However, these systems require the provision of continuous energy supply, and this can be a substantial cost to cater for during the life of the building.
Ensuring Proper Ventilation Using Natural Means To Achieve Energy Efficiency
Hot air rises, while colder air falls. This principle of nature is what is applied using the chimney effect, as hot air that has been warmed by occupants within buildings can be provided with a vertical channel with which it can flow upwards and outwards. As this happens, cooler air is naturally drawn in at the base levels of a space to fill in the vacuum that has been left by the escaping warmer air upwards. This creates a natural heat exchange process using air.The chimney effect is achieved simply by having an vertical shaft or expanse within a building that extends right to its top. This is connected to low level inlets or ventilation shafts, all of which connect to the vertical shaft. This could be an atrium or light well, having an opening at its apex. Warm air rises through this shaft to the top, and is emitted into the atmosphere at its top. In the meanwhile cool air is drawn into the building from the low level inlets to fill in the vacuum left by the warm air, and so creates a cooling effect within the building.
With the upward movement of warm air in the building, a low pressure zone is created at the lower end of the building. This is immediately filled by nature as it equalizes low pressure by pushing in cold air from without. This leads to creation of an air flow cycle which exchanges heat within the building naturally. Cool areas at the base of the atrium can be used for shopping or eating spaces.
Use of the chimney effect can be effected in various climatic conditions, all with the need to reduce the need to rely on artificial air conditioning. Temperate countries can use this to regulate building interior temperatures during warm summers, while tropical conditions can allow this to be used throughout the year. In so doing, a building’s running costs can be greatly reduced as one is able to achieve good interior environmental comfort using natural air flow systems. This greatly enhances a building’s sustainability with great energy efficiency.