Taking a Look at the Recent Advancements in Building Ventilation Technology
It is estimated that heating, air conditioning, and ventilation account for up to half of all energy usage. This is why energy conservation efforts focus in large part on reducing energy spent on temperature control, whether it is by adding insulation to older buildings or taking advantage of natural solar heating. The growing emphasis on green buildings has led to a massive investment in improvements in building design, heating and ventilation equipment, and materials. Let’s take a look at the recent advances in building ventilation technology.
Heat Recovery Systems
Heat recovery technology has transformed the way we view air exchanges, and homeowners no longer need to sacrifice comfort for energy efficiency. MVHR systems will recover heat from outgoing air and transfer it to incoming air. Heat recovery systems will also transfer the heat from hotter rooms like kitchens and solariums and distribute it throughout the home. These systems typically balance humidity, as well.
A heat recovery system is a great option for relatively air-tight homes, whether you are building a new nearly passive home or working with a 10-year-old property. These systems can be up to 95% efficient when used and installed properly.
Breathing buildings try to reduce if not eliminate the need for mechanical systems. Breathing building technology works best when the building is located in a temperate climate like in the UK. The only exception is when buildings are very tall or deep.
Breathing building systems have an exterior opening, a mixing chamber, and two low-energy fans. The temperature and carbon dioxide levels are regulated. A control system regulates the fan speeds, fan directions, and the dampers. It will bring in outside air or increase airflow as required. Most buildings have a backup heating and air conditioning system that can be turned on when required, but that’s reserved for only the hottest and coldest days of the year. The system uses almost no power for most of the year.
Smart Air Intake
Forget smartphones and smart refrigerators. The same intelligence is now being used to create smart air intake. Smart air intake systems will control the rate at which air flows through the system to keep the rooms at the right temperature and does so without causing drafts. Smart sensors may open the windows in a room if it is too hot and/or stuffy. This is on top of advanced design features like solar chimneys that move hot air up and out of the building.
Given the sheer number of sensors involved, the control system can also amass a large amount of information about environmental variables relative to system performance. Like a programmable thermostat, the system can then learn from this data and become more efficient over time.
Advances in building management and ventilation technology are going to have the greatest impact on overall energy usage out of everything that is currently in development. In fact, they are already being implemented around the world.
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