ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 66

SUSTAINABILITY
Column
Exploring the Feasibility
Of Natural Ventilation
BY ERIN MCCONAHEY, P.E., HBDP, FELLOW ASHRAE; PETER SIMMONDS, PH.D., FELLOW/LIFE MEMBER ASHRAE
Many in the HVAC&R industry can see the appeal of natural ventilation for environmental
stewardship concerns; however, there is some reticence about the application
of natural ventilation as well as confusion over the interpretation of the current
standards. This column compiles a handful of lightly edited excerpts from the new
ASHRAE Design Guide for Natural Ventilation to provide insights into critical conversations
that inevitably ensue regarding the benefits and risks of natural ventilation.
The confusion regarding interpretation of current
standards may be from a lack of ASHRAE-endorsed
methodology that establishes a rigorous analytical path
and the inputs and equations necessary to complete
even a feasibility analysis. The guide was written to
assist owners, architects, engineers, facilities personnel
and building design professionals explore the feasibility
of natural ventilation for their project during the early
phases of design.
This column represents a fraction of the material
from the guide's introductory chapter. The progress of
a design team from conception to fruition for a natural
ventilation scheme is one of collaborative review of critical
analysis results. The guide is intended to normalize
expectations regarding the minimum steps and analyses
necessary to facilitate key decision-making conversations
with stakeholders interested in the technical
feasibility, social acceptability and economic viability of
natural ventilation in a building project.
Natural ventilation as a comfort-conditioning method
will always be compared to HVAC schemes that are
easier to control from a predictability perspective. The
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ASHRAE JOURNAL ashrae.org A U G UST 2021
social acceptability of a natural ventilation scheme is as
important to its success as its technical feasibility. This
guide is intended to normalize expectations regarding
the minimum steps and analyses necessary to facilitate
key decision-making conversations with stakeholders.
It lays out a recommended order of decision-making
steps and is organized in the order of milestone gateway
decisions to help design teams decide whether to
continue investing in exploring the feasibility of natural
ventilation. Each chapter highlights key issues to discuss
with stakeholders and the level of analysis to be performed
to inform those decisions.
Natural Ventilation vs. Natural Conditioning
One of the key concepts discussed in the guide is
the difference between natural ventilation and natural
conditioning. The term " natural ventilation " has
been used since at least 1899.1 The challenge at the time
was to establish how to design " engineered " natural
Erin McConahey, P.E., is a principal in mechanical engineering at Arup, Los Angeles.
Peter Simmonds, Ph.D., is a principal at Building and Systems Analytics in Marina Del
Rey, Calif.
http://www.ashrae.org

ASHRAE Journal - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - August 2021

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 3
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 4
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 5
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 6
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 7
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 8
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ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 10
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 11
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ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - 37
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ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - August 2021 - Cover4
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