Demand for aged care facilities is expected to increase dramatically, given that the population aged over sixty-five years is set to double by 2051. With proven benefits for the health and well-being of inhabitants, ventilation will play an important role in the design of these facilities. How this ventilation is incorporated into aged care facilities will also have cost implications for their owners and operators.

Some of the benefits of natural ventilation using automated windows include: significantly reducing the reliance on mechanical systems that are very costly to operate and maintain; providing a user-friendly mechanism for operating windows either through a wall mounted switch or automatically according to environmental conditions; helping connect residents and carers to the outdoors for their well-being; controlling the degree of opening of the windows to enhance safety and security; reducing burden on staff as windows can be signalled to close automatically during rain or excessive winds as well as at night for security; and providing a healthier living environment while avoiding a sealed and overly institutionalised feel in the building.

Natural ventilation assists in reducing operating costs.

Heating and cooling account for a significant portion of building operating costs, mainly due to the higher reliance on mechanical forms of ventilation. Using natural ventilation instead will promote passive cooling, as well as provide an effective relief path for carbon dioxide and other airborne contaminants to be removed from the building. If windows are required to operate solely to lower carbon dioxide concentration, such as in the cooler months, controlled fine openings will prevent the occurrence of large energy losses.

Thermal comfort levels can be increased with automated windows.

Occupants experience higher levels of thermal comfort when they have a degree of control over their environment, for instance, through an operable window. Sealed buildings employ a one-size-fits-all approach by maintaining constant temperatures irrespective of external conditions and without regard to the personal comfort levels of each individual. When occupants are given the ability to alter their local environment, a greater level of satisfaction with the thermal environment can be achieved.

Even when opting for an automatic natural ventilation system, or BMS integration, occupants and carers can manually operate windows as they desire with a wall mounted switch or keypad installed in their room.

Automated windows help enhance safety and security of the building.

While the standard stroke of most chain actuators is 300mm, it is possible to restrict them to a minimum of 50mm in order to meet Australian Safety Standards or specific requirements of the project. This can lower the risk of intrusion or a fall from the windows.

Automated windows can reduce the burden on carers in aged care facilities.

An intelligent natural ventilation system will be able to signal windows to close in the event of inclement weather conditions. Monitoring parameters such as wind, temperature changes and carbon dioxide levels will allow automated windows to adjust their position accordingly, reducing the burden on carers.

Automated windows can also be programmed to close at a predefined time each evening, increasing safety and security of the building at night.

Residents can connect with the outdoors better.

Automated windows enable residents of aged care facilities to have a connection with the outdoors. Various studies have proved how this is highly beneficial for residents as their body will adapt to the environment, increasing their acceptance of a wider range of conditions. In sealed buildings, occupants become accustomed to very specific conditions and are highly likely to become uncomfortable if there are deviations.

Automated windows also offer ease of operation to both residents and carers in aged care facilities. Natural ventilation can be effectively used to lower the concentration of carbon dioxide in communal areas, such as dining halls and meeting places. This creates a healthier and more inviting environment for carers and residents while reducing reliance on mechanical forms of ventilation.

Arens natural ventilation in aged care facilities

Arens International can tailor a custom natural ventilation solution based on the budget and specific requirements of the project. Arens’ range of solutions can operate independent of, be partially controlled or be fully controlled by a Building Management System.

Basic System

Windows can be automated with a range of Arens actuators and simply operated with a wall mounted switch. Operation is independent of a BMS or a controller, with the occupants being solely responsible for opening or closing the windows.

Arens Ventilation Controller Range

Options for automated ventilation include timed operation of the windows, closure on signal of rain or excessive wind, or operation according to differences between internal and external temperatures. It is possible to integrate the range of Arens ventilation controllers with the BMS, HVAC or other systems throughout the building such as lighting or smoke alarms.

Simple Building Management System Integration

Automated windows can be integrated with BACnet, KNX and other common Building Management Systems. Using a voltage-free contact, the BMS can control the operation of the automated windows as it sees fit.

Advanced Building Management System Integration

Arens offers a range of controllers to allow intelligent integration with the Building Management System. Arens’ BMS controllers and appropriate actuators help with two-way communication, enabling the BMS to have precise control over the position of the windows and a range of other advanced features, such as feedback on the window position and early fault indication.

Arens’ controllers include WindowMaster FlexiSmoke BACnet controller (with MotorLink actuators and motor controllers), WindowMaster FlexiSmoke KNX controller (with MotorLink actuators and motor controllers, and UCS BMSline actuators with a BACnet controller.