A Standard for Natural Ventilation
- Author(s): Brager, Gail
- de Dear, Richard
- et al.
Architecture and engineering journals have been increasingly attentive to innovative non-residential buildings designed with operable windows. Such buildings may rely exclusively on natural ventilation for cooling, or may operate as mixed-mode, or "hybrid" buildings that integrate both natural and mechanical cooling. Architects who want to incorporate natural ventilation as an energy-efficient feature need to collaborate closely with mechanical engineers. Unfortunately, engineers often need to veto such natural approaches, citing their professional obligation to adhere to thermal comfort standards such as ASHRAE Standard 55 or ISO 7730. In their current form, these standards establish relatively tight limits on recommended indoor thermal environments, and do not distinguish between what would be considered thermally acceptable in buildings conditioned with natural ventilation vs. air conditioning. In other words, engineers have not had a suitable tool to help decide when and where full HVAC is required in a building, and under what circumstances they can incorporate more energy-conserving strategies without sacrificing comfort.