Natural Ventilation vs Power Exhaust Ventilation

Pros and Cons of Ventilation Types

Since the first caveman entered a cave, ventilation has been an important aspect of building design. The caveman learned quickly that buildings require ventilation to prevent stagnant air, remove moisture or unpleasant smells, and to maintain comfortable temperatures. Despite this history, ventilation is somehow still overlooked during building design. Too often builders stick air conditioning or exhaust fans, even if those are not ideal solutions for the facility in question. Architects and engineers rely on industry “standards” instead of taking the time to investigate other choices. In an effort to make the selection process a little easier, let’s take a look at two of the most popular ventilation options in modern building – natural air ventilation and power exhaust ventilation.

Natural Ventilation

Power Exhaust Ventilation labyrinthThe oldest form of ventilation has recently seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the green movement. Natural ventilation requires no mechanical energy, which is why it’s such an attractive option to those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and save on power costs. There are two different types of natural air ventilation used in buildings today: wind driven ventilation and buoyancy ventilation.

Cross-Flow Ventilation

If you’ve ever accidentally burnt a meal on the stove, you probably already know how wind ventilation works. When smoke fills your kitchen and sends your smoke detectors into a beeping frenzy, your first instinct is probably to open a couple of windows and air out your home. Opening multiple windows begin a movement of air, which eliminates the smoke and clears out your home. This is essentially how commercial wind ventilation works – but on a much larger scale. Installing multiple vents into a large space creates a cross-flow of air that effectively ventilates and freshens the inside air, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Buoyancy Ventilation

Another form of natural air ventilation is buoyancy ventilation. Like wind ventilation, buoyancy ventilation utilizes natural airflow to improve cooling and freshen a space. This method relies on the simple fact that hot air rises. If you’ve ever lived on the top floor of an apartment building in the middle of summer or ventured up into an old attic on a hot day, you’re likely already aware of this principle. When the hot air escapes from the top of a building, cooler air will pull from the bottom to replace the air that has escaped. This is also known as the “chimney effect.” Like with wind ventilation, the flow of air from buoyancy ventilation assists in cooling and refreshing the space.

Natural air ventilation systems utilize one or both of these techniques to cool an interior space. Each system is set up in a way that encourages air flow through the building at floor level, and up towards the ceiling. This leads to a cooler and more comfortable area for the building occupants.

Power Exhaust Ventilation

The second option is mechanical ventilation – also referred to as power exhaust ventilation. This option has been in existence since the mid 19th century and has been very popular in both residential and commercial spaces. In fact, it’s been a standard in buildings for decades.

However, this ventilation system works much differently than natural air solutions. While natural ventilation relies on the laws of nature to create airflow, power exhaust creates airflow by forcing air out using exhaust fans. These fans suck the air out of the top of the building while fresh air is sucked into the building through vents in the wall.

Power exhaust ventilation has its advantages. It’s very effective in increasing airflow and is, in general, good for ventilation in many spaces. However, it’s usually not the most efficient option, and often times doesn’t work in some spaces. Because it makes use of mechanical systems, it utilizes a great deal of energy. With climbing energy costs this has become a major issue for many companies. Most of all, large factories and plants feel this energy cost increases the most. Furthermore. Power exhaust ventilation often requires pricey maintenance repairs. Install a natural ventilation system today and avoid all of these problems and more.

Consider Your Ventilation Needs

When it comes to choosing a ventilation system for an industrial facility, most companies consider one factor above all else: the bottom line. Of course, it’s also important to consider efficiency, comfort and long-term costs. Luckily, when it comes to ventilation, there is an option that meets all of the above needs; low costs, efficiency and virtually no maintenance. If like most other businesses, these are your primary concerns, the choice is easy: natural air ventilation.

First, when compared to mechanical or power exhaust, natural air ventilation is extremely energy efficient. Instead of relying on a machine to force air out of a building, a natural ventilator utilizes gravity. Of course, by saving energy you’re also saving a great deal of money. Replacing power exhaust ventilation equipment with a natural ventilator can help you save tens of thousands of dollars a year. Additionally, natural air ventilation uses less machinery and thus requires less maintenance – which, again, contributes to that bottom line.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a greener way to ventilate your building, the solution is simple. Moffitt Corporation specializes in natural ventilation and uses some of the most modern and cost-effective techniques in the industry. Products include natural ventilators as well as louvers, and turbine ventilator options. Even better, unlike power exhaust ventilation, these products require zero operating costs. Furthermore, they are also noise and pollution free.

Nature has already supplied ready-made ventilation solutions. Why not use it?

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