From a historical perspective to today
Throughout history, humans always looked for better living conditions and healthier air.
Humans and animals have evolved solutions to either adapt to their existing environments or made changes to improve them. So the main focus has been always on keeping heat in buildings, however always with strong focus on good indoor air quality.
Today is no different — we need to ventilate our buildings to provide a healthy indoor environment for people.
Why do we ventilate? It is our basic need for fresh air.
People need to breathe fresh air — that is our basic need. This happens naturally outside where fresh air is naturally found. However, people work and live inside buildings, some say we even spend around 90% of our time indoors.
So it is important that we feel good indoors. And good indoor environment subsequently also means that buildings also need to breathe, i.e. create a good environment for us.
We need to perform certain actions and follow certain routines in our lives, such as coming home from work, or going to sleep and waking up or opening the windows. So we can enjoy our everyday lives, and therefore fresh air plays a pivitol part.
We need fresh air and we need comfortable environments. And that is why we need ventilation in indoor spaces and ventilation provides many things for us.
- To create air movement which improves the comfort of occupants.
- To remove 'stale' air and replace it with 'fresh' air.
- To moderate internal temperatures.
- To reduce the accumulation of humidity.
- To manage odours, other gases and various pollutants that build up during occupied periods.
And why do we have a basic need for fresh air?
It is all about comfort. So, can you feel comfort?
One of the challenges for building engineers is the adequate design of ventilation for maximum comfort for buildings' occupants. Health and comfort of people inside built environments can be evaluated by various parameters, which is often summarized as the indoor air quality.
Other important parameter is the indoor thermal comfort, which based on building occupant's satisfaction and also based on their perception of people. Thermal comfort can be defined as a person's state of mind or perception of whether they feel too hot or too cold. Due to large variations from person to person it is difficult to satisfy everyone within the same thermal environment.
The interaction between indoor air quality, indoor thermal comfort and various ventilation strategies are also directly link to the energy consumption buildings.
And we are, of course, not the same persons — and we for sure feel differently about the environments we are in. In the buildings, there are can be different indoor climate conditions, sometimes based on various activities (such as office or shopping mall or sport hall environments, etc.) and sometimes because the indoor climate can feel differently to different people.
Always take a person's physical characteristics into account when considering their thermal comfort. Factors such as their size and weight, age and fitness level can all have an impact on how they feel, even if other factors such as air temperature, humidity and rate of air movement are all constant.
And can people adapt to the thermal environments there are in? Can we be fully satisfied with the indoor climate in buildings? Occupants who enjoy more control of their indoor environment may tolerate a wider range of the indoor temperature. Adaptive thermal comfort is an idea based on an occupant’s connection to the outdoors and control over their environment.
Are you feeling the comfort?
The importance of ventilation. To provide, control and reduce.
The main reasons for ventilation are all about people — ventilation is for us and about us. Ventilation is not just about air — heating/cooling it and exchanging it and get it clean.
Scientific research also shows that ventilation is not only about 'window opening' or 'fresh air from the outside'. But its most importance is to dealing with the notion of creating 'a good indoor environment'.
Without a ventilation system in place, you have no control of the air flow in a building. Proper ventilation protects a home from unwanted toxins, pollutants, and odours.
Ventilation can also help protect the overall structure of a building by eliminating excess moisture from the air and to prevent overheating by venting the excess heat and also for cooling the indoor environment if the outside is too hot.
We ventilate for comfort (for indoor environmental quality, not indoor air quality). Buildings occupants — we as humans — are actually the best 'sensors' in a building, because we can also take actions to change the situation indoors.
Are you ready to learn more about providing, controlling and reducing in ventilation?