Expert studies show that buildings are the largest consumers of energy in our cities and that sufficient efforts are being made to enhance energy efficiency in buildings. However, in order to achieve significant energy efficiency goals, there is a compelling need for building designers, owners and operators to raise the bar for improving the indoor air quality (IAQ) because its magnitude encompasses the human elements of a building, said Dr William Bahnfleth, Professor of Architectural Engineering at Penn State University.
Dr Bahnfleth, along with Michel Ivanovich, Senior Director of Industry Relations, Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA), was speaking at a technical workshop, organised by ASHRAE Falcon Chapter, on April 4 in Dubai.
Providing statistics on energy consumption in buildings, Bahnfleth pointed out that on an average, 59% of a building’s energy consumption goes towards environmental control, out of which HVACR uses 46%. Therefore, he said, “designers, operators and maintainers of buildings have a vital role to play in improving the energy characteristics of buildings by specially focusing on enhancing IAQ conditions of the building”. He further added that when IAQ enhancement is set as the goal, then the building is on the right track towards achieving good energy efficiency results.
Bahnfleth also warned that poor indoor environmental quality (IEQ) conditions in a building lead to serious health consequences and deaths. In his closing remarks, he suggested that the current technology is sufficient to ventilate air efficiently. “We should not always be waiting for the next new product to come along to solve our problems,” he said.
Speaking on the initiatives by AMCA, Ivanovich explained how the organisation is making efforts to improve the testing procedures for sand louvres. “In Dubai, we have established a testing laboratory, in collaboration with Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants,” he said. “We also make certified ratings available on our website in a real-time way, so once a product is certified we publish the results online.”
Ivanovich pointed out that sand louvres are critical for the GCC region, because sand always creates serious problems for HVAC systems. Thus, louvres can help mitigate sand-related challenges and reduce maintenance costs.