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To Investigate the Effects of Ventilation System on Building Residents


One of the prime principles of a building is to provide a comfortable, healthy and productive atmosphere for the occupants. There are four key players in achieving such an environment, namely, the structure, the HVAC system, outdoor environment and occupants' activities. The ventilation system in buildings is a component of the HVAC system.  It has been reported that from the aspects of the built environment, the most influential factors on the occupants of a building are ventilation, indoor air quality, acoustics and lighting. The satisfactory quality of each of these aspects is necessary for achieving occupant satisfaction and considerations must be incorporated in the design of the building (Khaleghi et. al., 2007). In the context of this paper, focus is on the ventilation system and its impact on the occupants of the buildings.

A satisfactory ventilation system, which avoid negative impacts on the occupants of the building, supplies air with minimal impurities or pollutants, comfortable temperatures and low flow rate and reduced noise. There are cases, when occupants to relieve their discomfort, block the ventilation on purpose, by taping over registers and vents, by putting blankets or towels against a door having undercut for providing ventilation. This behaviour is motivated by the discomfort caused by the cold drafts. There are other reasons as well for sealing the ventilation supply routes such as to shut out noise, light, insects, or odor. People, at times, experience discomfort from the movement of air depending on the temperature and velocity of the air. Movement of air with a temperature below 70 oF can be experienced as discomfort. These are few uncomfortable impacts of ventilation systems in buildings (Diamond, et. al., n.d.).

To sum up, research shows that with the mechanical ventilation system providing occupants with better indoor air quality, the associated noise levels are higher. Natural ventilation systems provide occupants with unsatisfactory ventilation quality but acceptable noise levels with windows closed, and satisfactory ventilation quality but unacceptable noise levels with windows opened (Khaleghi et. al., 2007). There are many shortcomings, relating to both indoor air quality and energy use associated with the ventilation system, which lead to health and comfort issues for the building occupants. With adequate ventilation system for the building, the result is a comfortable and healthy environment for the residents.

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