About the NatVent project
This seven nation pan European project aims to reduce primary energy consumption (and consequently CO2 emissions) in buildings by:
    (a) providing solutions to barriers which prevent the uptake of natural ventilation and low-energy cooling in countries with moderate and cold climates, and
    (b) encouraging and accelerating the use of natural ventilation and ësmartí controls as the main design option in new-designs and major refurbishments of office-type buildings.
This project is targeted at countries with low winter and moderate summer temperatures and where summer overheating from solar and internal gain can be significantly reduced by low-energy design and good natural ventilation. Natural ventilation solutions to buildings in urban areas where external air pollution and noise levels are regarded as being high, is also a priority.
Why natural ventilation in office buildings?
Achieving good indoor climate conditions and at the same time an energy efficient and environmentally friendly office building is a clear challenge. This is valid for new buildings as well as for retrofitting activities. Creating a good indoor air quality and a good thermal comfort is certainly an important aspect. Full air conditioned systems were in the past considered as the ultimate choice. Today, a more balanced view is found in many countries and among many people.
Increased concern over the adverse environmental impact of energy use has encouraged the design and construction of energy efficient buildings, many of them suited to natural ventilation. It can provide year round comfort, with good user control, at minimum capital cost and with negligible maintenance. Also, nowadays there is a better understanding of natural ventilation in buildings. Furthermore there is a common feeling that many mechanically ventilated and/or air-conditioned buildings do not behave as well as could be expected.. As a result, there is an increased interest for natural ventilation strategies and much attention is being given to the development of such systems with better performances. The NatVent project aims to contribute a better understanding of the barriers and possibilities for applying natural ventilation in office buildings.
What is ënatural ventilationí ?
The expression 'naturally ventilated building' covers the following two concepts:
  • Ventilation may be linked to the control of the indoor air quality: natural ventilation in this case means providing specific provisions (eg trickle ventilators) aimed at achieving an acceptable indoor air quality. Such design may include natural supply openings and mechanical extract fans.
  • Ventilation may be linked to the control of temperature in summer and the avoidance of overheating. In this context, the natural ventilation is generally applied at night time and the aim is then to use the relatively cold outside air as the heat sink for cooling down the building thermal mass. The NatVent project is looking at these methods of natural ventilation provision in office buildings in both moderate and cold climates.