Architect Shares Tips on Home Ventilation
It's more than just adding plenty of windows
With the pandemic emphasizing the need to have well-ventilated spaces, you might be thinking of how to ensure that you have good indoor air quality inside your home. Whether you are still in the planning stages or you want to make some modifications to your current dwelling, these tips can help you in allowing fresh air to go inside your space.
Real Living got in touch with Architect Johannes Vincent F. Chua to shed light on all things ventilation. Here are some of his insights:
Reducing moisture levels and unpleasant odors
There are many benefits to living in a well-ventilated home, says Architect Chua. “Good air movement reduces humidity and moisture levels in the air,” he says. Having proper ventilation also helps in minimizing “unpleasant food odors due to trapped air in the kitchen” and that “kulob” smell in the bathroom.
Windows play a huge part in ventilation
If you’re in the process of building a home, consider having adequate and operable windows. “Picture windows and fixed glass are good for views and natural light, but making them operable ensures ventilation,” Architect Chua explains.
“Depending on the prevailing wind direction, windows can be opened and closed to access the wind,” Architect Chua adds. But there are downsides to having windows open all the time, as dust and rainfall could get inside the house, as well as noise from the streets.
Architect Chua also reiterates the importance of window placement in relation to ventilation. “Whenever possible, lower window sills to the height of the furniture, so the person sitting or lying down is directly exposed to the natural air movement. Bring window heights higher since warm air accumulates near the ceiling and needs to be ventilated out.”
“Make sure that each room has at least two sides that have windows exposed to the exterior. Inducing cross-ventilation inside rooms requires entry and exit points. Having two windows on two different sides of rooms ensures this,” he adds.
On electric fans and air-conditioning units
Electric fans and air-conditioning units are often found in most households, but it’s mostly the former that is helpful in interior air movement. He also clarifies that air-conditioning units “do not necessarily ventilate and exchange inside air and outside air,” unless the unit that you have has a setting to access fresh air. “They only circulate the air-inside the room while reducing temperature and humidity,” he adds.
While there is no ideal combination when it comes to the number of electric fans and/or air-conditioning units you need for proper ventilation, he suggests taking these factors into consideration.
Those who live in places that usually record a lower temperature than that of Metro Manila, for example, could already benefit from electric fans, thereby making air-conditioning optional. The location of the dwelling also matters in terms of how far apart your house is from other neighbors or your home is surrounded by tall structures.
Architect Chua notes that decisions can be made while taking into account “own individual tolerances and preferences for heat, cold, airflow and humidity” alongside the “capacity and willingness to pay added electricity costs for mechanical ventilation.”
Architect Johannes Vincent F. Chua is an Assistant Professor, UP College of Architecture (UPCA), and has been a faculty member for 9 years. He was the former head of the Environmental Architecture Studio Laboratory. He promotes sustainable architecture—particularly tropical design—in his professional practice.
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