Natural ventilation is the ventilation of a building with outside air without using fans or other mechanical systems. It can be via operable windows, louvers, or trickle vents when spaces are small and the architecture permits. In more complex schemes, warm air is allowed to rise and flow out high building openings to the outside (stack effect), causing cool outside air to be drawn into low building openings. Natural ventilation schemes can use very little energy, but care must be taken to ensure comfort. In warm or humid climates, maintaining thermal comfort solely via natural ventilation might not be possible. Air conditioning systems are used, either as backups or supplements. Air-side economizers also use outside air to condition spaces, but do so using fans, ducts, dampers, and control systems to introduce and distribute cool outdoor air when appropriate.
Humidity is becoming more of a concern to building operators and owners. High indoor humidity leads to mold and mildew growth inside the building. The are several methods of controlling indoor humidity. The simplest (and most expensive) method is to connect a humidistat to an electric heater. When the humidity inside the building rises above the humidistat set point, the heater is turned on. The additional heat causes the air conditioning system to run longer and remove more moisture.
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Building Energy Management System is a computer-based control system installed in buildings that controls and monitors the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems. Designed to enhance system performance, drive down operational costs and aid decision making. Also see ACIS™.
In hot weather, air conditioning can prevent heat stroke, dehydration from excessive sweating and other problems related to hyperthermia. Heat waves are the most lethal type of weather phenomenon in developed countries. Air conditioning (including filtration, humidification, cooling and disinfection) can be used to provide a clean, safe, hypoallergenic atmosphere in hospital operating rooms and other environments where proper atmosphere is critical to patient safety and well-being. It is sometimes recommended for home use by people with allergies.