Natural ventilation simply means relying on the wind and what is known as the “chimney effect” to keep a home cool during warm weather. Although natural ventilation is considered the most practical and most effective method of making a building more sustainable and energy efficient, it only works well when the natural climate in the area consists of cool nights and regular breezes.
Depending on the natural orientation of the house, the wind should freely enter and leave windows through a vacuum effect created inside which draws wind towards the outside of the house. If you notice homes built in coastal areas, there are usually large windows facing the ocean to maximise the cooling effect of the sea breeze.
In addition to residential homes, other establishments like schools and office buildings can benefit from natural ventilation or passive cooling because it helps reduce energy consumption. Perhaps one of the most practical ways to incorporate natural ventilation is by installing large windows with window controls for convenient access regardless of if installed in higher sections of the home. If you want to integrate natural ventilation into your house whether in planning or as a retrofit feature, here are some simple suggestions.
- Ground covering and water elements
An easy way to enhance natural ventilation is by covering pavement with vegetation and grass. Grass retains very little heat and can help in directing cold air towards your home. Another excellent landscaping element is a water feature such as a pond, pool, or fountain because it can serve as transition space that naturally cools warm air before it goes into your home’s interior.
- Wicker and bamboo furniture
Wicker and bamboo have airy construction which helps encourage air flow. These materials also retain little heat which makes them ideal for outdoor decoration. But depending on your preferred aesthetic, you can also addbamboo and wicker furnishings to the interior of your home.
- Higher windows
If you are still in the planning stages of building a home, installing tall windows helps with optimum indoor air movement and reduces the heat load on ceilings especially during summer months. If you want wall openings and windows mounted higher up the wall or close to the ceiling, you can also install manual window controls for convenient access.
Window orientation is also crucial because natural breezes usually come from specific directions depending on the season.
- Include transitional spaces in the floor plan
Transitional spaces can be considered in planning the floor plan for a new build and as an additional feature for existing homes. Some examples of transitional spaces are balconies, courtyards, atriums, and other open spaces that allow air to flow into and outside the house freely.
By incorporating natural ventilation into the home or building, you can benefit from a drastic drop in utility costs. You will also notice improved air quality and reduced reliance on appliances used for artificial cooling. Natural ventilation not only benefits the inhabitants of a home but also significantly reduces carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Not only is it practical, but also sustainable and simple enough to apply.
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