Natural Ventilation in Aged Care

With the population over sixty five years of age set to double by 2051 there will be increasing demand for the development of new aged care facilities. How these facilities are ventilated can have significant cost implications for owners, but it is also important to consider the health and well-being of those that will inhabit the building.

The benefits of having automated windows and natural ventilation.

  • The reliance on mechanical forms of ventilation, which are very costly to operate and maintain, can be significantly reduced
  • Provides a user friendly mechanism for operating windows – either through a wall mounted switch or automatically according to environmental conditions
  • Provides residents and carers with a greater connection to the outdoors
  • The degree of opening can be easily restricted to enchance saftey and security
  • Burden on staff can be reduced as windows can be signalled to close automatically on rain, excessive winds, or at night time for security
  • Provide a healthier environment to live and work in, avoiding a sealed and overly institutionalised feel in the building

Natural ventilation assists in reducing operating costs.

With heating and cooling making up a large portion of building operating costs, natural ventilation can be used to effectively reduce the usage of mechanical forms of ventilation. Natural ventilation will promote passive cooling, as well as provide an effective relief path for carbon dioxide and other air borne contaminants to be removed from the building. If windows are required to operate solely to lower carbon dioxide concentration, such as in the cooler months, controlled fine openings will prevent large energy losses occurring.

Thermal comfort levels can be increased with automated windows.

Various studies illustrate that higher levels of thermal comfort are experienced when occupants have a degree of control over their environment – through an operable window for example. Sealed buildings employ a “one size fits all” approach by maintaining constant temperatures irrespective of external conditions. When occupants are given the ability to alter their local environment, a greater level of satisfaction with the thermal environment can be achieved.

Even when opting for an automatic natural ventilation system, or BMS integration, occupants and carers can manually operate windows as they desire with a wall mounted switch or keypad installed in their room.

Automated windows help enhance safety and security of the building.

While the standard stroke of most of our chain actuators is 300mm, it is possible to restrict them to a minimum of 50mm in order to meet Australian Safety Standards or specific requirements of the project. This can lower the risk of intrusion or a fall from the windows.

Automated windows can reduce the burden on carers in aged care facilities.

When an intelligent natural ventilation system is opted for it will have the ability to signal windows to close should inappropriate weather conditions develop. Parameters such as wind, changes in temperature and carbon dioxide levels can be monitored and signal for automated windows to adjust their position accordingly. This can remove the need for carers to ensure that windows are closed if unfavourable weather develops.

Automated windows can also be programmed to close at a predefined time each evening, increasing safety and security of the building at night.

The importance for those living in aged care facilities to have a connection to the outdoors.

By providing automated windows, the residents of aged care facilities have a connection to the outdoors. It allows for a dynamic environment to be created – where changes in the internal environment reflect those occurring in the external environment. This is becoming increasingly popular, with studies pointing to it being highly beneficial for residents, as their body will adapt to the environment and they will become accepting of a wider range of conditions.

In sealed buildings, occupants become accustomed to very specific conditions and are highly likely to become uncomfortable if there are deviations from these. This provides residents and carers with a very unnatural environment.

The additional benefits automated windows offer.

It can be quite common for residents to have issues with access to windows, or not have the ability to operate them. By automating the windows, they become far more user friendly for both carers and occupants.

An additional benefit of natural ventilation is that it can be effectively used to lower the concentration of carbon dioxide in communal areas, such as dining halls and meeting places. This creates a healthier and more inviting environment for the carers and residents, as well as reducing reliance on mechanical forms of ventilation to perform this task.

Arens Natural Ventilation in Aged Care Facilities.

Depending on the budget and requirements of your project, we can tailor a solution to suit. Our range of solutions can operate independent of, partially controlled or fully controlled by a Building Management System. Available options listed below.

Basic System

  • Windows can be automated with a range of Arens Actuators and simply operated with a wall mounted switch. Operation is independent of a BMS or a controller, with the occupants being solely responsible for opening or closing the windows.

Arens Ventilation Controller Range

  • There are a range of options here; we can allow for timed operation of the windows, closure on signal of rain or excessive wind, or operation according to differences between internal and external temperatures.
  • It is possible to integrate the range of Arens Ventilation Controllers with the BMS, HVAC or various other systems throughout the building such as lighting or smoke alarms.

Simple Building Management System Integration

  • Integration of automated windows with BACnet, KNX and other common Building Management Systems is possible
  • Through a voltage free contact, the BMS can control the operation of the automated windows as it sees fit.

Advanced Building Management System Integration

  • Arens offer a range of controllers to allow intelligent integration with the Building Management System.
  • Through the use of our BMS Controllers and the appropriate actuators it is possible to achieve two way communication
  • This will allow the BMS to have precise control over the position of the windows and a range of other advanced features, such as feedback on the window position and early fault indication.
  • Controllers include:

WindowMaster FlexiSmoke™ BACnet Controller (with MotorLink™ Actuators and Motor Controllers)
WindowMaster FlexiSmoke™ KNX Controller (with MotorLink™ Actuators and Motor Controllers)
UCS BMSline Actuators with a BACnet Controller

For more information on natural ventilation or how it can be achieved in Aged Care and a wide range of other building types, please feel free to contact us today.