For those looking to bring their new build project into reality as well as those wishing to improve on an existing property, ventilation systems play a critical role. Their importance ranges from ensuring safety in the incident of a fire to providing clean and fresh air for the occupants to enjoy.The applications of the different systems are numerous and the amount of considerations to be taken into account is huge; it is therefore recommended that only the most experienced and well trained of professional ventilation companies provide assistance on this matter before a final choice is made.A critical component of many buildings is that of efficient smoke ventilation systems. The purpose of Smoke and Heat Exhaust Ventilation (SHEV) systems is to draw toxic fumes and heat out of a burning building.
It is important that this system is designed to keep common spaces such as corridors, lobbies and stairwells free of smoke so the occupants can evacuate the building quickly and efficiently and that fire fighters have access to the source of the fire in order to extinguish it.Smoke ventilation systems can be both natural and mechanical. Natural smoke ventilation systems are often the ideal choice if they can be built into the property at the outset. These systems allow the creation of a rising thermal current which naturally draws rising smoke, heat and poisonous gases from the building in the event of a fire.As the timely opening of smoke vents is necessary to maximise the efficiency and safety of the procedure, an automated system is recommended by experts. As soon as smoke is detected, Automatic Opening Vents (AOV) are activated meaning that smoke and heat flows in the right direction and out of the building.
In some cases, where the architecture of a building is not sufficient for the up-venting of smoke and heat, mechanical ventilation systems can be installed to ensure the safety of both building occupants and those fighting the fire.The main advantage of mechanical ventilation systems is that they are guaranteed to perform at a certain level, as they displace a known amount of air per minute at a consistent rate. However they can be costly and they may not always be suited to a building’s aesthetic integrity.However, mechanical ventilation systems are an excellent choice for constructions such as car parks, where high velocity air jets in induction and impulse fans push large volumes of air, exhaust fumes or smoke towards smoke extraction shafts. This option doesn’t take up as much space without the need for extensive ducting, meaning more parking levels can be constructed.
Tall buildings may also require the installation of mechanical ventilation systems as their structure does not create ideal conditions for natural ventilation. Examples include hospitals – where safety is of paramount importance – and premises such as hotels, multi-storey residences and shopping centres.Finally, natural ventilations systems are becoming an increasingly attractive method for ensuring a safe and healthy indoor climate. These are considerably more environmentally friendly that air conditioning units which can have a large carbon footprint.Natural ventilation systems utilise the idea of natural pressure differences to move fresh air throughout buildings. These kinds of system use natural forces of wind and air buoyancy to draw fresh air into buildings and expel stale air. This is important in removing odours, providing oxygen for respiration and increasing thermal comfort of the building’s occupants.All these different ventilation systems have different functions and applications, making each one suitable for situations where another may not provide the optimum solution. The exact system to be used all depends on the building in question; its architecture, function and the level of fire safety required all will play a major role in determining the right ventilation solution.