Natural Cross Ventilation, Pros And Cons

Natural Cross Ventilation, Pros And Cons

Hybrid Systems, Support For Natural Cross Ventilation

There are many ways to ventilate a house, but how many of them are efficient? Normally, it was thought that it was enough to open the windows and let the air from outside in, but modern construction and the new regulations of the Technical Building Code have shown the necessary renewal of air indoors, both for health and comfort reasons. And if no mechanical ventilation systems are available, a good option is to achieve natural cross ventilation at home.

Achieving indoor air renewal through natural cross ventilation is something that can be considered before starting a building project, as it is also possible to implement it in almost any home, especially in houses, as in apartments it can be more complicated. It is cheap and in many cases effective.

How can we define natural cross ventilation? We could say that two openings in the same space or room are in opposite or adjacent walls, which will allow very easy entry and exit of air. Obviously, this type of ventilation solution is ideal for places with high temperatures, as the main benefits of natural cross ventilation are twofold:

  • Great air renewal. Although there are no automatic mechanisms that read the specific needs of a space in real time and act accordingly, the reality is that with this type of natural ventilation solution, air intake and output is achieved. That is why the renewal is achieved in a great way.
  • Improved thermal comfort in hot climates. The fan effect makes people in the same room feel the climate much more peaceful. If the wind is in constant movement, they will undoubtedly notice a better thermal sensation. Likewise, by changing the air that has been heated indoors, temperatures should be lowered.

The effect of natural cross ventilation is made possible by the opposite positions of the two openings in the same room. On one floor it can be more difficult to achieve, but sometimes it can be done by opening a living room window and opening the door if it faces another draft. In those cases, we can find different ways to achieve a good airflow.

In a house, it is certainly much easier to achieve this type of natural ventilation because you can find doors that open to the outside near windows that open to other places. Is this effect always as efficient? Not at all. There are several concepts to keep in mind to maximize the effectiveness of natural cross ventilation. For example, consider the following:

  • The hottest air currents come from the south facade of the houses.
  • The air, as it rises in temperature, rises upwards.
Natural Cross Ventilation, Pros And Cons

In this way, if we want to plan a building site that takes advantage of natural cross ventilation, it is important to place doors and windows on the south facade, since that is where we want the warm air to be extracted from the interior. From that point, we can choose to install fans that send the air out of the home through those openings.
Similarly, the windows from which we want the outside air to enter must be located in the northern position of the house. And just by having implemented these solutions, we will undoubtedly have gained a lot in terms of ventilation of our home without relying on mechanical systems or traditional air conditioning.

Natural Cross Ventilation, Pros And Cons

Hybrid Systems, Support For Natural Cross Ventilation

As we have said, although we can implement a natural cross ventilation system in almost any home, it is better to consider it previously in a construction in order to be able to face openings in the most comfortable way. Even so, the Technical Building Code, in its Basic Document HS3 specifies that it is necessary to have at least one hybrid ventilation system in homes.

To combine with cross ventilation, a controlled hybrid ventilation system (HCV) is a good alternative, which is characterised by the fact that, as soon as natural ventilation is insufficient, mechanical ventilation will be switched on. In this type of mechanical system, air is naturally drawn in through vents that draw air in from the outside. The extraction can be done naturally or mechanically.

In any case, the solution of natural cross ventilation will always be something to consider if we have to rely on natural air renewal systems. But it is important to take into account the functioning of mechanical ventilation systems in order to guarantee a correct flow of air in our homes, as well as in our workplaces.


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