Natural Ventilation

SEEC has expertise in the design of robust natural ventilation strategies and has developed successful strategies for commercial office, education, sports arena and dinning /café facilities.

We have staff with specialist training to provide detailed thermal performance modelling of buildings, using industry leading software.  Through a systematic and holistic approach we deliver natural ventilation strategies that ensure healthy, comfortable and productive indoor environments are built to suit your requirements.  

Buildings incorporating natural ventilation provide substantial environmental benefits by reducing the demand and energy use of active cooling systems and SEEC is proud to be a leader in this field. 

​Design Criteria & Occupant Thermal Comfort

With in-depth technical knowledge of both occupant thermal comfort and indoor environment quality we can tailor a natural ventilation strategy to meet the thermal performance requirements of your project.  Clients are often unaware naturally ventilated spaces can be designed to comply with a summer overheating design criteria and we often work closely with clients during project inception to establish suitable thermal comfort performance  targets. 

Our dynamic thermal comfort modelling assesses the six factors of occupant thermal comfort detailed in the International Standard ISO 7730 Ergonomics of the Thermal Environment (Air Temperature, Radiant Temperature, Humidity, Air Movement, Occupant Metabolic Rate and Occupant Clothing Level) minute by minute across and entire simulation year. 

The Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) is an internationally recognised thermal comfort index which is based on six 
thermal comfort factors.  The PMV index can be used as robust and effective thermal comfort design criteria for a wide range range of projects.  Each thermal comfort factor can be analysed in isolation and we can design a natural ventilation strategy to ensure the combined effect of the six thermal comfort factors falls within a specified thermal envelop. 

When investigating space overheating it is often important to consider not only the absolute peak overheating condition (e.g peak air temperature, radiant temperature, PMV etc) but also the annual number of hours above an upper thermal comfort threshold.

​Passive Design & Building Loads
The passive design process is the fundamental building block for a successful and robust natural ventilation strategy.  Passive design refers to a holistic design approach where the use of free renewable resources such as solar, wind and other external weather patterns / conditions are considered and exploited when developing concepts for building form, orientation, fenestration and material selections. 

By carefully considering passive design principals the occupant thermal comfort of a naturally ventilated building can be enhanced by providing items such as,

  • effective solar shading during warm summer periods
  • passive solar heating during cooler winter periods
  • natural daylighting to reduce artificial lighting loads
  • sizing and positioning of air inlets/outlets to naturally induce optimal levels of air movement
  • Thermal mass and a night ventilation / cooling strategy to lower peak radiant and air temperatures
  • Insulation and glazing to optimise / reduce space heat gains.

Generally the earlier passive design measures are considered and integrated into a project the greater the benefit and lower the cost.  SEEC can work closely with design teams to develop and incorporate innovative, robust and quantified Passive Design measures.

By utilising our specialist building performance modelling capabilities we can provide you with a quantified cost / benefit analysis of different passive design measures ensuring the integrated measures are both cost effective and beneficial to the overall space thermal comfort levels.

We can also provide valuable input during the value engineering processes, analysing design variations to ensure the effectiveness of the overall natural ventilation strategy is not compromised. 

​Control & Functionality
We tailor the level of automatic and manual control functionality to best match the natural ventilation system requirements and intended tenants.  We can ensure your staff are adequately trained to effectively operate the natural ventilation system and we will provide simple control strategies.

If you would like to discuss thermal comfort or a natural ventilation strategy for your building please give us a call.