Energy bills are among a building’s greatest operating costs: Even the most efficient mechanical HVAC systems draw large amounts of power. Some building managers try to reduce costs by imposing restrictive schedules and operational limits for heating and cooling systems. However, such schemes often compromise employee comfort and productivity.
Better options are available to the proactive design team. With careful planning, spaces built in certain climates can reduce energy costs with natural ventilation techniques. Natural ventilation couples certain design and construction principles with the local climate to effectively heat and cool a space with much less reliance on mechanical systems.
In its most basic form, natural ventilation can be as simple as opening windows to encourage crossflow. But a comprehensive strategy is much more effective and can ventilate a space even during periods of relative calm.
How does it work?
Natural ventilation takes advantage of a number of environmental phenomena and design techniques to develop strategies for naturally heating and cooling a building. Factors that drive a natural ventilation scheme include
- Diurnal temperature patterns
- Seasonal winds and climate effects
- Variation of sun angle throughout the year
- Construction materials
- Operable window placement
- Occupant comfort criteria
By combining sophisticated comfort models with wind tunnel experiments and an understanding of the local climate, CPP’s natural ventilation engineers help clients save energy and money.
Will I still need traditional HVAC systems?
Unless you live in reliably comfortable areas like San Diego and Honolulu, you’ll probably need mechanical heating and cooling during the coldest and hottest times of the year, respectively. But natural ventilation can dramatically reduce or eliminate your dependence on such systems during periods of mild temperatures. Properly designed, a natural ventilation scheme can cool your building at night or warm it during the day, giving you a head start so that mechanical systems are only needed during peak periods.
CPP aims to promote sustainability in the built environment. It would be our pleasure to help you create a space that is comfortable for occupants, good for the planet, and easy on your wallet. Contact us today and let our talented airflow experts ensure that your new building is efficient, safe, reliable, and comfortable.