Proper ventilation is crucial for any home or office to ensure a healthy and comfortable living or working environment. While mechanical ventilation is an available option, natural ventilation is more sustainable when it comes to enhancing airflow.
This is where ventilation blocks, also known as breeze blocks, batu angin tembok and batu angin rumah, come into play. These perforated concrete blocks have gained popularity in modern architectural designs, particularly in Malaysia.
In this article, we will explore different types of ventilation, including breeze blocks.
a. Natural Ventilation
In Natural Ventilation, fresh air enters a house through openings like doors, windows, walls, louvers, roof ventilators, and skylights.
These openings should be placed in a way that allows only fresh air to come in, while avoiding locations near smoke, dust, odours, or polluted air inside the house. The system should also have vents to let out stale air from the building.
Natural ventilation is commonly used in residential buildings, small houses and commercial spaces. It relies on the house’s or building’s orientation and the influence of wind to achieve proper airflow and ventilation.
Ventilation through Breeze Blocks
One of the best methods of natural ventilation is achieved by using breeze blocks in the walls (also fondly known as batu angin tembok or batu angin rumah in Malaysia).
In fact, these blocks have become popular in modern architecture for their combination of style and practicality. They have perforations that allow air and light to pass through, improving airflow and creating a unique visual appeal.
These ventilation blocks come in various designs, patterns, shapes and sizes, providing house owners, architects and designers with a wide range of options to explore.
To achieve the best results, you need to balance aesthetics and functionality. For optimal natural light, choose larger ventilation block patterns and place them near windows or openings to enhance sunlight penetration.
Using white ventilation blocks can brighten interiors and create a clean, modern look. To add visual interest, experiment with different block patterns, combining solid and perforated blocks strategically and playing with contrasting colours.
Moreover, ventilation blocks can be incorporated in various settings. In residential spaces, they can serve as decorative partitions, privacy screens, or unique window coverings.
In commercial areas, they are suitable for visually appealing displays, office interiors to divide workstations, or restaurant designs to create privacy between dining areas without sacrificing ventilation.
b. Artificial or Mechanical Ventilation
1. Supply-Only Ventilation
Supply-only ventilation is a type of ventilation system that uses a fan to pressurize the room and bring outdoor air inside. The indoor air escapes through leaks in the walls and exhaust fan ducts.
This system provides more control over the air that enters the building and helps minimize outdoor pollutants. It typically includes a fan and duct system, and sometimes a Central Fan Integrated (CFI) system, which can increase installation and operating costs.
2. Exhaust-Only Ventilation
Exhaust-only ventilation reduces the pressure inside a building by using a fan to pull air out. Unlike other systems, it doesn’t have a component to bring fresh air from outside. Instead, fresh air enters the building through leaks in the structure to balance the pressure.
It’s a simple and cost-effective system, with low operating costs. However, it may not be suitable for warmer areas as it can cause issues with moisture when reducing pressure.
3. Energy Recovery Ventilation
Energy recovery ventilation is a type of ventilation system that focuses on minimizing waste energy. It transfers heat from warm exhaust air to cold supply air, reducing the cost of heating ventilated air.
In summer, it cools down the warmer fresh air by transferring heat to the colder inside air, reducing cooling costs.
4. Balanced Ventilation
Balanced ventilation is a combination of exhaust-only and supply-only systems. In this system, the airflow rate of indoor exhaust and outdoor supply is roughly equal.
It can employ Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERV) or Heat Recovery Ventilators (HRV) to recover energy and maintain efficient ventilation.
5. Spot Ventilation
Spot ventilation is an auxiliary system that improves the effectiveness of both natural and mechanical ventilation.
It involves using local exhaust fans in specific areas like bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture and indoor air pollution at the source. This enhances the overall performance of the ventilation system.
6. Hybrid Ventilation
Hybrid ventilation, also known as mixed-mode ventilation, combines natural and mechanical ventilation. When natural ventilation alone is insufficient, exhaust fans can be added to increase the airflow.
It requires careful planning and testing to ensure proper functionality. Hybrid ventilation is often used in rooms with patients with airborne infections, but caution is needed to ensure the proper installation of fans and measurement of the ventilated air.
Ventilation plays an important role in maintaining a healthy and pleasant indoor environment. The utilization of ventilation blocks offers a practical and visually appealing solution to enhance airflow.
Using innovative ventilation block designs allows homeowners to achieve improved indoor air quality and a more comfortable living space.
Whether it’s through the creative arrangement of blocks or exploring new materials and patterns, the possibilities for optimizing ventilation block functionality are endless.