Natural ventilation is defined as ventilation driven by the forces of wind and temperature and can be used to ventilate buildings intentionally in a controlled manner. This is not simply achieved through openable windows and should be considered as a key part of a whole-building passive design concept.
Building regulations are increasingly focussing on lowering energy use as well as the prevention of overheating within buildings. Low-energy natural ventilation is one of several passive design strategies used by professionals designing more sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings. It is the default method of ventilation for new school buildings and will gain points under the BREEAM assessment method for offices and other commercial buildings.
The key to successful implementation of a natural ventilation strategy is to consider its application during the preliminary stages of project design. Decisions about building plan, orientation, building mass and glazing ratio and types along with other factors will enable the most effective use to be made of natural ventilation.
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