University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Fluid Mechanics (CUED) > Working with atria: natural ventilation in multi-storey buildings

Working with atria: natural ventilation in multi-storey buildings

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Natural ventilation is one of a number of low-energy building design tools available to architects and engineers. By harnessing the freely available driving forces of the wind and buoyancy, fresh air can be delivered to building occupants, providing a healthy and comfortable indoor environment with minimal energy input. Buoyancy-driven (‘stack’) ventilation has particular potential for use in tall multi-storey buildings, and can work hand in hand with ‘vertically spanning’ architectural features such as atria, lightwells and solar chimneys. However, by linking multiple storeys an atrium can add complexity to the ventilation design and result in the possibility of undesirable flow patterns and uncomfortable indoor conditions, particularly on the top storey. In order to address these challenges, we develop a simple design approach – based on simple mathematical models that capture the core physics of ventilating flows – to provide rapid and intuitive guidance to designers. We determine a number of rules of thumb for sizing vents, quantifying the ventilation performance of the atrium and informing the choice of ventilation strategy. The work is intended to provide a starting point for more detailed modelling with CFD and other software tools and, crucially, to provide an intuitive understanding of some key design issues to engineers, architects and building occupants alike.

This talk is part of the Fluid Mechanics (CUED) series.

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