5 Natural Ventilation Lessons for Your Plant

Natural ventilation systems offer businesses the opportunity to save money on their heating and cooling bills by harnessing the natural properties of air. Over the years, five critical natural ventilation lessons have become clear for companies looking to make the switch. You can learn about natural ventilation by visiting this page from the Department of Energy.

Lesson 1: Not Every Climate Is Perfect for A Natural Ventilator

Natural Ventilator Lessons
Natural Ventilation Lessons

Natural systems work year-round. They will stand up to the extreme weather conditions, but that doesn’t mean that they are ideal for every climate. Since the system operates by pulling cooler air from the outside into the building and forcing that air to circulate through vents in the roof, some locations are not ideal for this type of system. In those instances, pressurized air intake will complement the natural roof exhaust. By using this type of system, which we call a Pressure Gravity System, the air is forced into the building at a faster rate and the flow of air through the facility is increased. This helps to improve air flow and keep temperatures low.

Lessons 2: Natural Ventilation Is More Effective With A Higher Roof

To get the most from a natural system, the building needs to have a high roof. This is the stack effect, which describes how air moves through a tall building. Since warm air rises and cold air falls, a difference in air pressure exists between the floor and the ceiling. The higher the roof of the building, the greater the difference in pressure. As the cold air is brought in through the wall louvers, it displaces the air already in the building and forces it to move upwards, just like a stack.

The height of the roof makes a significant difference in the effectiveness of the system. The volume of air that can be displaced and the speed at which the air circulates through the building, are due to the differences in air pressure, which in turn are impacted by the height of the building. Buildings with lower-level roofs may not have enough of a difference in air pressure throughout the building to take advantage of this difference in air flow. These types of buildings can often benefit by using different types of ventilation systems such as A Pressure Gravity system or a system that utilizes exhaust fans in key areas.

Lessons 3: Don’t Disturb The Production Process

If the ventilation system gets in the way of the production process, it can have a net negative effect. Retrofitting a building with a system takes much less time and is much less disruptive to production than some of the other systems on the market. On the other hand, a Continuous Ridge system takes longer to install. This is because of the need to brace sections of the roof to support the additional weight. However, it can be worth it since it can also exhaust much greater quantities of air.

Of course, having too much air flowing through the system can itself become disrupting the production process. If the air moves too quickly the building it can cause drafts and chills. Poorly designed air flow might also disrupt high-temperature production processes. Many facilities, like Steel Mills, need to maintain high temperatures to ensure proper consistency. If the plant is too cool, or if the air is cooled in the wrong place, the production process might suffer. Additionally, if a facility is too dry in the wrong place, a paper plant that needs to have moist air in certain parts, may run into problems.

Building owners work with the ventilation designer and the contractor to find the appropriate amount of air that needs to be move through the building. This will allow the building to achieve the proper balance and not interfere with production.

Lessons 4: Finding The Ideal Air Flow Volume Is Critical

The single most important calculation in natural ventilation is the airflow. The formula takes all of the factors influencing the airflow in the building into account. Roof height and total building volume effect the airflow in the space.

Under counting a building’s air flow needs can prove to be a big problem down the road. Often a building owner will guess or listen to a contractor that might be unfamiliar with the process. This can lead to incorrectly estimating the number of ventilators required. This creates an issue because insufficient exhaust openings can leave warm air trapped in the building. If the hot air doesn’t have a large enough outlet to escape, it will get stagnant. In reality, it can even be worse than before the “improvements”.

Finally, using a design team with lots of experience can prevent this simple mistake. Calculate everything that has a heat impact on the building, including solar heat, and body heat, when calculating building temperatures and be realistic about how much air will flow through the exhaust vent. It is better to have too much ventilation than too little.

Lesson 5: Supplement Your Natural System with Powered Fans

When the manufacturing process creates an exceptional amount of heat, or the building has a very low roof, a pressure gravity system can supplement the airflow. Rather than using wall louvers, powered supply fans force air in from the outside to speed up the airflow process. These powered fans offer several benefits over traditional rooftop fans.

  • They feed the natural ventilation system, which keeps the cost of operation minimal.
  • Since they aren’t on the roof, they are easier to maintain.
  • The fans pump clean air directly into the work area.
  • Building owners can target the hottest areas of their workspace.

Natural Ventilation Lessons

In conclusion, we hope these natural ventilation lessons taught you something. Natural ventilation is the wave of the future. It is giving industrial buildings everywhere a green alternative to traditional systems. With the right planning and the right partner, building owners can start saving money soon by upgrading their ventilation. Contact Moffitt today to receive a free, no obligation quote.