Chamber of commerce, Kiel

A good European example, that has important implications for similar U.S. office buildings is the Kiel Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Germany. The project boasts a new extension designed by architects Kauffmann, Theilig & Partner. The key elements are the night ventilation of all office areas via automatically opening window flaps on the façade, together with air thermals and vents in the glass roof. Here, the open reinforced concrete floors functions as latent energy storage, while the foyer and the upper part of the building are equipped with cooling components in the form of water conduits build into the concrete. Cool air generation is ensured by means of an earth conductor in the foundation slab and the necessary bored pile foundation, so that the whole building requires no cooling apparatus.

Chamber of commerce, Kiel

This design concept uses natural resources to optimize workplace quality and the environmental conditions of the meeting areas. It takes into account not only urban planning, creative and functional issues, but also the interdisciplinary relationship between architectural and engineering requirements.

The radical ventilation and climate design concept is based primarily on the use of natural resources, such as daylight and cool night air. Night ventilation uses cool night air to cool the building structure and ventilate the building in summer, while the central atrium is used as natural means of driving the nightly ventilation process. This is achieved by motor controlled, legally prescribed SHE flaps – smoke and heat extraction – located in the roof. Developed by STG-BEIKIRCH, a leading innovator and suppliers of window automation system, the flaps are used for ventilation while motor-assisted ventilator panels are also located in the glazed facades.

Another important benefit is safety and control of the flaps in the event of fire. Full opening of the flaps, in combination with the isolation of one floor of the building, reduces the risk of the fire spreading and helps extract smoke, which is often the cause of most deaths. In order to fulfill all requirements, there are two distinct types of flap: those that can be opened progressively in stages (wind ventilation flaps) and those that are either open or closed (summer ventilation flaps). Both types are operated by individually manufactured linear motors and controlled by central control units.

Specially designed software is sometimes used to simulate the load profile by converting the physical details of the building and hourly weather data into a mathematical model. Detailed information about temperature cycles, energy cycles and flows allow conclusions to be draw regarding the building´s actual energy requirements.

Automated cooling through night ventilation, targeted use of building structures as cold stores, and cold generation via earth conductors are measures that may become increasingly important when one realizes the major contribution they make to the conservation of the environment and for achieving higher energy-reduction targets, to say nothing of the considerable cost saving in a building´s operational costs.

All this means that the wider adoption of natural ventilation technology will have a very real effect on global warming, on energy consumption and personal wellbeing.

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