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Outdoor pollution need notpreclude natural ventilation

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Natural ventilation can be made to work even in places where it is necessary to exclude outside noise and pollution, studies for the Europe-wide NatVent project have shown. Unveiled at the bre on Tuesday, the research found that it is possible to reduce the primary energy consumption in buildings by overcoming barriers which prevent the uptake of natural ventilation for office-type buildings.

The researchers, from seven countries, found that it was possible to apply natural ventilation in such a way that indoor air quality was not adversely affected by outdoor pollution levels. Solutions include increasing the height of air intakes from roads, the use of sheltered building facades, and improved analysis of wind-flow patterns around buildings. Researchers have also been developing specifications and design solutions for natural- ventilation air-supply components, and specifying conditions under which newly developed natural-ventilation 'smart' constant air inlets can provide acceptable indoor air quality.

But education is as important as innovation, according to the researchers. Interviews conducted by the Danish Building Research Institute identified a 'significant lack of knowledge and experience of special designed natural ventilation in office buildings compared to the knowledge and experience of mechanical ventilation. In addition there is a lack of sources to natural ventilation knowledge in standards, guidelines and building studies and a desire for new design tools on natural ventilation including calculation rules and easy-to-use, simple and advanced computer programs.'

Ruth Slavid

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