Natural Ventilation in Buildings

Harnessing the wind does not necessarily mean putting up a wind turbine.

Harnessing the wind does not necessarily mean putting up a wind turbine. In fact, by far the commonest use of wind energy in urban settings is to drive ventilation systems in buildings, instead of using electric fans and other devices.

 

It is possible to design a building in such a way that the wind sucks the stale air out and draws fresh air in, using the difference in air pressure at different heights to create a flow of air. When this is done as part of an overall energy strategy for a building, it can help cut the electricity needed to keep the building running. Such ‘passive’ or ‘natural’ ventilation systems are typically associated with the design of new buildings but there are also cases where existing buildings have been adapted using the same principles.

 

Using the wind in this way is unobtrusive and can make a significant contribution to energy conservation. It has the advantage of avoiding all the common objections to wind turbines. The need for low-energy buildings is clear given that heating and operating buildings accounts for approximately one third of UK energy use.

 


The fourteen chimneys of Portcullis House exhaust stale air gathered up form shafts connected to the offices below and draw in fresh air at their base through heat recovery units to supply the fans housed in the roof space.
The fourteen chimneys of Portcullis House exhaust stale air gathered up form shafts connected to the offices below and draw in fresh air at their base through heat recovery units to supply the fans housed in the roof space.