A building cannot solely rely on a good air conditioning system to create a healthy and energy-efficient environment, avoid overheating in summer, and ensure good indoor air quality all year round. Various studies have shown that health problems such as sick building syndrome, draught complaints and allergies among many others occur more regularly in air conditioned buildings than in naturally ventilated structures. The focus should, therefore, be on ensuring good air quality and a pleasant temperature to create a healthy living or working environment all year round.
Why is ventilation important?
Indoor air is constantly exposed to pollution from a number of sources including occupants and their activities, building products such as paint, glue and varnish, cleaning products, equipment and other interior sources. The increasing trend towards airtight construction, which aims for energy efficiency, has a downside too with problems from humidity, carbon dioxide build-up and stale air.
The build-up of these elements in a closed environment can lead to various health conditions from irritation of the eyes, nose and throat to headaches and chronic respiratory illnesses as well as physical discomfort.
All these problems can be avoided by ensuring buildings are properly ventilated. Controlled ventilation, 24 hours a day, is the only effective and secure solution that can maintain excellent indoor air quality even in an air conditioned environment. The ventilation solution should also try to reduce the amount of outside noise entering a building from passing vehicular traffic as well as airplanes and trains.
The effects of sun exposure
Buildings with large glazed surfaces facing south can offer the many benefits of incoming sunlight and heat during autumn, winter and spring. However, the same sun can turn villain in summer by creating an uncomfortable indoor environment through overheating. The glare from the sun can also be irritating to building occupants.
Structural solar shading and screens can prevent this overheating and control the glare. By blocking solar radiation coming into contact with the glazed surfaces, these systems ensure undesirable heat and blinding light do not enter the building. However, solar shading products should not hinder the external view of the occupants.
Renson’s Healthy Building Concept
The Healthy Building Concept aims to create a healthy, comfortable and energy efficient indoor climate by combining natural ventilation and sun protection systems. Natural ventilation maintains good air quality thanks to continuous basic ventilation and a pleasant indoor temperature through ventilative cooling. External sun protection controls the extent of sun exposure all year round.
Continuous and controlled basic ventilation
Basic ventilation guarantees perfect indoor air quality. This is achieved by using a sufficient supply of fresh outside air to force the contaminated inside air out of the building according to the principles of air supply, transit and extraction. This ventilation is permanently guaranteed through the supply of fresh air via window vents or acoustic ventilators.
Ventilative cooling is based on the concept of using natural airflow overnight to cool down a building and its air content. Homeowners and building managers can achieve optimal thermal comfort with minimal energy consumption in summertime through air conditioning. A sufficient amount of thermal mass is needed to store the internal heat gains during the day, while enough air (ten times the amount required through background ventilation) is needed to circulate through the supply, transfer and extract channels overnight in order to cool down.
Renson’s louvres address the requirements of intensive ventilation. The surface mounted (type 432) or glazed-in (type 414) louvres achieve large airflows, restrict water penetration, add security, and do not require intensive maintenance.
External solar shading
Durable and permanent external solar shading systems with aluminium blades (Sunclips, Icarus, Loggia) or screens (Fixscreen, Topfix Max) prevent overheating inside a building, while maintaining visual comfort. In addition to the functional advantages, these systems can provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the building.
Image: Renson Panovista screen