Often overlooked in this modern age, natural ventilation has played second fiddle to air-conditioning and other mechanical systems that generally recycle air in a endless loop. Many recent studies are promoting the huge potential for both health and financial benefits of natural ventilation systems.
Amongst the myriad of benefits generated by natural ventilation, constant fresh clean air, reduction of energy consumption and near zero green house gas emissions are surely amongst the primary advantages.
A 2017 article by the University of Wollongong ‘Assessment of natural ventilation potential for residential buildings across different climate zones Australia’ has highlighted many of the benefits and advantages that natural ventilation can provide.
The article states “As a key solution to the efficient operation of buildings, natural ventilation plays a significant rollin maintaining an acceptable indoor environment. The benefits of natural ventilation include, but are not limited to, improved indoor thermal comfort, reductions in occupant illness associated with with indoor environmental quality and increased work productivity with low energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions”.
The article also provides a volume of useful information in relation to the effects of local climate, characteristics of buildings including geometrical and thermal aspects. Most highly populated areas in Australia, including Perth, Western Australia are situated in the Warm Humid or Warm Temperate zones. The potential for effective natural ventilation in these areas is enormous. Whilst the study confirmed that natural ventilation was most effective in summer months in relation to thermal benefits, ventilation was considered to be extremely important all year round in relation to perhaps the most important issue ie provision of fresh clean air 24/7.
There are many other factors apart from climate that affect the performance of natural ventilation systems , such as the building design/construction type, insulation/Rvalue & window type etc. However it is clear that natural ventilation should be considered a primary factor in creating ahealthier and more comfortable home.