Delivering two for the price of one

Ventilation systems that combine low energy performance with life safety features in a single combined solution is a popular controls strategy, but executing it correctly is the key to making it work, according to Paul Noakes*.

It is well understood that products used for smoke ventilation can be designed to do a lot more than just meet health and safety requirements. The equipment can be configured to be part of a building’s regular ventilation system and provide low energy natural ventilation that helps to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and cut running costs.

In doing so, the smoke vent was transformed from a required purchase to one that can deliver real day-to-day benefits to building owners and occupiers – making it a far more attractive investment. The key to making this work is executing the controls strategy correctly.

Multi purpose

Good quality smoke ventilation products can be adapted to respond to changing climatic conditions including temperature, light levels, wind, rain, and elevated levels of CO2 from occupancy.

A comparatively simple addition to the control strategy will instruct the system to purge the occupied areas of warm stale air under certain conditions.  One major benefit of this approach is that the end user gains natural ventilation at no additional energy penalty and only a small extra capital cost.

For example, the system can be set up to open vents when the internal temperature reaches 23°C and to deliver five air changes per hour. Other ways of delivering the same air change rate are possible, but few are capable of delivering the same performance for such a low capital and energy cost.

Delivering high-level performance

However, in order to deliver a successful hybrid solution like this requires a completely joined up service that involves a detailed design to make sure the system is appropriate for the building in question, has a robust and properly thought through controls strategy and is then installed and commissioned by specialists who understand the nuances of adapting a smoke vent system for natural ventilation.

Providing this cradle to grave approach is central to the way we work at Naco. We believe it is the only way to get the controls strategy of our products right. We offer a complete end-to-end service from initial site surveys, to design drawings, bespoke manufacturing of the system, co-ordination and management of works on site, and a complete handover and post-occupancy care service with a proactive approach to service and maintenance.

We have been manufacturing louvres for almost 50 years and we are the only specialist with a UK manufacturing facility. Our Vengen²⁸ double glazed, thermal break aluminium louvre system is ideal for providing this kind of natural, low cost solution whilst also meeting the airtightness standards required in modern, energy efficient buildings. When combined with our range of controls and design service, this means we are able to deliver fully-compliant natural and smoke ventilation systems to buildings across the UK.

This combination of technology is versatile and adaptable and truly lends itself to providing both day-to-day natural ventilation to manage temperatures and air quality inside buildings, while also ensuring life critical smoke extraction is on call in the event of a fire – proving that two really does go into one.

*Paul Noakes is Contracts Manager for Swegon Air Management.

To find out more about our natural and smoke ventilation products and control strategies, please visit: