Air and Architect, 10 tips to improve nature ventilation of your building
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Cocoon House embraced with rain, wind, and daylight
Cocoon House is an amazing renovation of old buildings in Vietnam. This building was renovated by Landmak Architecture in 2016. Because there are regulations about renovating old houses. The architects decided to add a kitchen block at the back with the roof as a terrace for the master bedroom on the second floor. The old balconies at both ends of the house were skinned with ventilation brick blocks. Inside this skin, space was left for rain, wind, and sunlight to shine through. The idea of a cocoon was born, where there is still access to nature, but filtered through the security factor.
There are several ways to improve the ventilation of buildings. Natural ventilation, Exhaust-only mechanical ventilation, Supply-only mechanical ventilation, Balanced ventilation, Balanced ventilation with heat recovery. Nature ventilation is one of the basic ways to introduce fresh and cool air without using air-conditioning or other types of mechanically driven devices. Natural ventilation is created by the differences in the distribution of air pressures around a building. Air moves from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure, with gravity and wind pressure affecting the airflow. Another term associated with natural ventilation is “passive cooling.” The placement and control of doors and windows will alter natural ventilation patterns.
5 simple ways to use natural ventilation when designing a new home
Cover pavements and surrounding grounds with grass or other low heat-absorbing materials. By opting for grass, for example, the heat retained in the ground is very minimal. This will greatly help to direct cool air inside your home or building.
Images © Daderot
Earth mounds are an amazing example of biomimicry that derive their air circulation concepts from insect mounds and black-tailed prairie dogs. They are great to add as a part of your home/garden/yard landscape to help aid air circulation, especially in the summer months.
Like in many oriental landscapes and home designs, water is an important element. Fountains, pools, or swimming pools can act as transition spaces where the air is naturally cooled before passing through interiors.
Wicker or bamboo furnishings
These materials can encourage good airflow due to their airy construction and low heat retention. Wicker and bamboo are ideal for the outdoors, but also work great indoors.
Frequent opening of windows
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people rarely open windows in their homes for reasons ranging from noise to dust and safety concerns. This reduces the need for electric fans or other cooling systems and depending on where you live, fresh air can also improve indoor air quality.
5 simple ways to use natural ventilation for new homes
Installing windows that are at least 3.6 feet high helps indoor air movement and also reduces the heat load on ceilings.
These can be positioned either horizontally or vertically to redirect airflow and can be installed in the form of overhangs, louvers, or slats and should be placed on a higher level to redirect the flow of air.
Clerestories not only provide natural illumination but can also improve air movement. Since hot air is known to go upward, a clerestory can act as a vent and space for the hot air to accumulate. Using electric window openers can help you open those high windows, where you couldn’t reach.
Windows should be placed on the north and south areas for optimum cross-ventilation unless it hinders aesthetic views. This encourages natural breeze and draws in good airflow into interiors, especially during the summer months.
Incorporate courts, balconies, atriums, and other open spaces that encourage airflow.
The advantages of natural ventilation are compelling. The energy costs are dramatically lowered down, air quality is improved and chemical substances released in the air by air conditioners or other mechanical devices are minimized. Overall, using natural ventilation in your home can have a tremendous positive impact on its occupants, the building itself, and the environment.
Images © Trieu Chien