Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation through operable windows is intended for the non-heat-ing season, when the air entering the house is at a comfortable temperature. During the heating season, the National Building Code assumes that occupants will be discouraged from opening windows which will admit cold drafts and lose heating energy, hence a controlled mechanical ventilation system is required. In some cases, windows opened during extreme cold weather lose energy and may not close properly due to ice build-up, and at such times, only a suitable mechanical ventilation system will provide the required ventilation properly.

The minimum unobstructed area of ventilation openings specified in the National Building Code applies to rooms which are not mechanically ventilated. This means that in situations where air is exhausted from, or supplied to, a room by mechanical means, no operable windows are required. In practice, however, occupants normally expect operable windows in most rooms, and in some cases, operable windows are required as a means of egress in case of fire.

By carefully planning the type, location and orientation of operable windows, it is possible to provide highly effective natural ventilation and cooling. Windows which open into prevailing summer winds can serve as scoops which capture and direct the breezes through the house. Providing both low and high openings can promote natural ventilation during calm periods.

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