Statistics show some 30% of employees working in air conditioned offices suffer from the illness, whose risk factors include poor levels of ventilation, poor air quality and low humidity: a situation that may increase with the stricter airtightness requirements of the latest Building Regulations.
Passivent’s Remote Air Dispersal (RAD) Airscoop unit naturally ventilates the building to ensure a flow of fresh air into the office environment. Unlike other systems, it has the flexibility in its design to enable repositioning of the ceiling-mounted diffusers should the office layout be altered, ensuring the staff still have good ventilation without the discomfort of draughts.
And the system has benefits beyond occupant health: as it principally functions via natural air movement, energy consumption can be almost halved against that for air conditioned buildings, capital costs are reduced by some 15%, the need for air conditioning reduced or even eliminated, and associated maintenance costs also cut.
Suitable for use on the top floor of most large or deep-plan commercial buildings, Passivent’s RAD Airscoop comprises a roof mounted terminal divided into four separate chambers which are allocated to either draw fresh air into the building or exhaust the ‘used’ internal air. Flexible ducting, up to 10m long, is connected to diffusers inset in the suspended ceiling carries the fresh air into the workspace, creating displacement of the warm, ‘used’ internal air.
Should the office layout be altered, the ceiling diffusers can also be repositioned to ensure staff still benefit from fresh air without discomfort.
Because the system harnesses natural air movement (convection and the venturi effect), the only electricity consumed is that to adjust the ventilation flow louvres according to wind strength outside, and the air quality and airflow within. As it uses natural air movement, the system can function 24/7, 365 days a year, meaning the building operators get ‘free’ night cooling, as the system continues working at night, dispersing any excess heat and/or pollutant buildup generated during the day.
The claims of Passivent’s Airscoop are reinforced by independent research by BSRIA: its BG2/2005 Wind Driven Natural Ventilation Systems study maintains the roof mounted ventilation will deliver good comfort conditions, at low levels of energy consumption and help avoid overheating. At one building in Co Antrim the Passivent Airscoop ventilation is proving so effective that independent testing showed the structure has one of the lowest measured internal carbon dioxide levels in the region.
The RAD Airscoop is just part of Passivent’s range of sustainable strategies to control and harness natural resources to benefit the building occupants, including a raft of natural ventilation solutions, natural daylight systems and solar control products. Passivent is also a member of the NatVent™ EC/EU funded research project co-ordinated by the Building Research Establishment to develop practical, natural ventilation solutions for commercial building.