08-05-2024 |

The AIVC 2024 workshop “Ventilation, IEQ & Sustainability" organised in collaboration with ASHRAE Singapore Chapter was held on 18-19 April 2024 in Singapore. Participation was possible in person and the event drew over 160 participants - researchers, engineers & architects and industry representatives. The programme included 21 presentations grouped into 3 sessions: “Optimising Indoor Air Quality for Climate Resilience”, “Reducing Carbon Footprints: The Role of Energy efficient Ventilation Technologies” & “Smart Building Automation for Climate-Adaptive Ventilation”.

During the closing session of the event, Arnold Janssens (AIVC’s operating agent & Professor at UGent) made a brief summary of the main highlights and insights drawn from the 1 ½ day event.

Prof. Janssens noted a shift in ventilation design, moving away from prescribed flow rates and primarily relying on outside air, and highlighted that design has now become more “exciting” and creative offering more opportunities to consider what ventilation should achieve and how it should be designed. He then mentioned the new challenges related to infection control, climate change etc. which the HVAC design profession has been facing, highlighting the concepts of resilience and risk management discussed during the event, to quantify these challenges.

The research community is focused on developing new indicators and assessment methods including resilience indicators, IEQ metrics, new test methods, living labs, advanced analysis methods like big data and machine learning. These developments in research are accompanied by updates in standards, with designers relying on these standards to guide their work. Moreover, these evolving standards are facilitating performance-based design methods, enabling the integration of advancements in air distribution techniques like personalized ventilation and emerging technologies such as air cleaning. The new standard ASHRAE 241 provides answers in designing buildings for controlling infectious aerosols. Overall, these developments aim to equip design professionals with the tools to account for and integrate the latest advancements and research into their designs.

The industry is introducing new solutions and tools to align with evolving standards, such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and better performing air filters allowing to better optimise IEQ and energy efficiency. Successful applications of these new approaches in design practice have been demonstrated, showcasing tangible energy savings.

Indeed, while there are exciting new developments, there are also some unsolved problems. Buildings are typically designed with a focus on energy efficiency but controlled for comfort, highlighting the critical importance of proper building operation. Even if a building is perfectly designed, its performance ultimately depends on how it is operated. Many examples have underscored the need for improvement in this area, revealing instances where systems and buildings fail due to insufficient commissioning and maintenance. These challenges have been observed across various regions, including France, the USA, and Singapore, indicating a widespread issue that requires attention and action.

Relying solely on a performance-based approach and adhering strictly to the limits for certain contaminant concentrations outlined in standards could result in a suboptimal indoor environment with respect to aspects not covered by the standards. Standards may not adequately address factors such as productivity, cognitive performance, or exposure to contaminants originating from outdoors, such as particulate matter (PM). Therefore, there is a pressing need for enhanced inspection and maintenance, ongoing commissioning, and clear accountability among involved parties. Promising advancements in technologies like digital twins and sensor deployment offer potential solutions to aid in achieving these goals.

The slides of the workshop will be soon available online here.

Surbana Jurong Campus, Singapore