VentilationWhy is it crucial for modern buildings to have ventilation?
The process of ventilation in buildings represents the exchange of inner, polluted air with the ambient, fresh air. The air-conditioning and ventilation devices, installed in the engine room of the building, make sure such an exchange is possible. Channels or ducted units distribute the air to individual rooms.
The myth of expensive ventilation
The problem with the ventilation of buildings is the widely accepted notion that such ventilation involves high costs, both in investment as well as in operation of the building. Here at Menerga we know it is not necessarily so. With proper building planning and adequate air-conditioning and ventilation devices it is possible to reach the optimum level of comfort at a comparable costs of investment operation.
Why is it necessary to ventilate buildings?
An average man of the Western world:
- spends approx. 90% of his times inside buildings,
- and daily ”consumes” more than 12,000 litres of air.
According to research, the average indoor air in western countries is 5 times more contaminated than ambient air.
The biggest pollutants of indoor air include:
- Biological pollution: mold, bacteria, dust and dust mites, microorganisms, human ”dandruff”, animal dander in private homes…
- Pollution based on combustion: carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, tobacco smoke…
- Volatile organic compounds: paint and varnish gases, pesticides, chemicals from dry-cleaning shops…
Think about how much time you spent in improperly ventilated spaces, and how often do you come in contact with the above-mentioned factors of polluted air? Air has a significant impact on living comfort and convenience. It significantly affects:
- room comfort,
- living comfort inside a building,
- human performance,
- human health.
How does poor air quality affect health and well-being?
Poor and stale air causes more and more medical problems. Because of such spent and dirty air in unventilated spaces, numerous problems frequently and badly affect our health and decrease our resistance.
- headaches and chronic headaches,
- difficulties with concentration, resulting in poor performance of people at work,
- eye, nose, throat and lung irritation,
- asthma and allergies,
- dry eyes,
- respiratory infection.
Wrong way of addressing the problem – uncontrolled opening of windows
The classic solution is, of course, to open the windows – natural ventilation. In this way all the spaces are ventilated, and the stale air is exchanged with the fresh.
But here is the catch: to prevent the warm air from escaping during winter and cold air during summer, we insulate buildings and thus ensure quality airtightness. And then, when we open the windows to ventilate the space, we lose all the energy we had saved through good insulation and airtightness.
By opening the windows we upset the energy balance in the building and generate extra operational costs – the fresh air needs to be re-heated during winters and re-cooled during summers.
Modern ventilation solutions – high rate of heat recovery / regeneration
The only real solution to ventilate the spaces of such buildings is the use of energy-saving air-conditioning and ventilation devices –- the so-called forced ventilation.
In order to transfer the disposed energy of used air onto the fresh air, we must provide ventilation with a high heat recovery and regeneration rate. With this we eliminate the need of opening the windows, maintain the balance and significantly save on operating costs of the building.
Purchase of air-conditioning and ventilation device
When selecting an air-conditioning and ventilation device, we should choose a device with a high level of energy recovery and a low forward power. These are the two main factors that we must already heed when we start investing in the energy system of the building, i.e. when the building is still being designed. These two factors shall, in the longer term, most certainly reduce the operation costs of the building. The most profitable investment in a device is that, which:
- saves energy,
- lowers monthly energy and operation costs,
- reduces the required power,
- lowers the total investment in the energy system of the building
In 2 to 3 years, your investment in highly efficient air-conditioning and ventilation devices shall be fully repaid. However, high-quality air-conditioning devices can be used for more than 20 years. Which means we will save energy for the next 18–20 years, after the investment had been repaid. The best source of alternative energy therefore remains: energy savings!
Sick building syndrome
Sick-building syndrome is a frequent event in buildings, where we do not provide a sufficient amount of fresh air. People, who work and live in such buildings, start to show different disease symptoms: headaches, dizziness, breathing difficulties, feeling of suffocation, upper respiratory tract irritation, drowsiness, burning eye sensation, less motivation to work.