How can you make a house feel less like a pre-heated oven?
An optimal ventilation system isn’t just about having great airflow that helps you get through summer’s sweltering heat. Good ventilation is also important round-the-year to make sure that one doesn’t gain any health problems caused by badly-placed windows or a lack of attic vents. With poor ventilation come problems like asthma, allergies, headaches, respiratory infection, and a loss of concentration. But if given more attention and installed right, a good ventilation system can reduce the risk of mold growth and lessens the presence of dirt and dust. Aside from lessening these impurities, it makes spaces less damp and keeps the air fresh.
Natural ventilation promotes a healthier lifestyle thanks to the use of fresh air and also lower utility bills since there would rarely be any use for air-conditioning. If openings like doors or windows are placed and designed well, it can lead to around 20 to 25% energy saving. So far, there are two types of natural ventilation: buoyancy-driven and wind-driven.
Buoyancy-driven ventilation, also known as stack or temperature-induced ventilation, is the result of the density differences between indoor and outdoor air. As warm air rises above cold, this results in a stacking simulation. If a structure with warm indoor air has openings at the top and bottom, the colder air from outside will push this hotter out and up through the higher opening, thus making for a more comfortable and cooler indoor space.
Wind-driven ventilation meanwhile involves single-sided ventilation which involves having one or more openings present on one side of a structure’s closed room and cross ventilation which means having two or more openings at two or more sides of a room.
Of course, the effectiveness of natural ventilation still depends on how you design your home or place these ventilation systems. Take note of the window height. If the windows are at least 3.6 feet high, indoor air would flow a lot easier and ceilings would carry less of the heat load. Make sure these windows are also placed on the north and south areas to maximize cross-ventilation. And finally, add in clerestories if you can.
Aside from being another source of natural light, clerestories (a high section of a wall with windows above eye level) are the exact type of windows that make for great buoyancy-driven ventilation. Make a wider floor plan. Needless to say that more space equals more and better air flow. And of course, if all else fails, one can also add in the versatile electric fan to help improve airflow without using up too much electricity.
Decor-wise, you can also opt to add in more green elements to your exterior landscape. These include adding in more low heat-absorbing materials like grass over pavements to help direct cooler breezes into the house, maybe even earth mounds that mimic the air circulation brought on by insect mounds.
Water elements like fountains and pools can also act as the transitional space that naturally cools the air passing over them. The use of bamboo furniture is also a good choice since these furniture types are known for being retaining less heat compared to other furnishing materials.
Overall, these are just a few other ways to maximize the airflow in our house, especially during the summertime.
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