Select Your Strategies
Natural Ventilation

The process of supplying and exhausting air in a building using the natural forces of wind and buoyancy

Before the development of mechanical cooling systems, all buildings were naturally ventilated. As reliance on mechanical systems increased, the knowledge base around designing for natural ventilation diminished. With the push from the green building movement, natural ventilation has begun to make its way back to the forefront of the field as a viable and desirable method of ventilation. If done correctly, natural ventilation can improve occupant comfort and air quality, reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with mechanical cooling, and reduce operational costs during a building’s lifetime.

Buildings can be naturally ventilated using two main natural forces- wind and buoyancy. Wind can be incorporated using cross ventilation, and buoyancy can be incorporated using a variety of tactics including stack ventilation, evaporative cool towers, night ventilation of mass, and earth tubes. Before selecting a natural ventilation strategy, you should first understand the climate you are working with, and the internal loads which may be generated. If cooling is necessary for a majority of the year, then select a strategy below which best matches your particular conditions.