The Romans developed the hypocaust heating system for heating larger buildings. The hypocaust was a pre-cursor to the heating and ventilation system integrated into Britain’s parliament buildings in the late 1800s. Outside air enters the hypocaust and gains heat from a fire and then is moved through an underfloor series of channels, up through channels in the walls and is vented to the outdoors. The systems built in the late 1880s use a similar approach but also supply outside air to the building. Outside ventilation air is pulled over steam pipes in a heating chamber and ducted into the building. Exhaust openings in the upper reaches of the building provide a stack effect to pull air through the building.
Source: ASHRAE´s new residential standard by Max Sherman
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