The focus on a healthy indoor climate in i.e. schools and institutions has never been bigger. This is because it is absolutely crucial for children’s learning, creativity, and their general well-being. Several schools and institutions are facing the need to significantly improve the indoor climate, and in order to do so, a new ventilation solution is required. In addition to a new solution, there are also several other things that needs to be considered.
Whether the new ventilation solution should be a central or a decentralized solution is dependent on the buildings size, placement, and operating budget.
Especially the high energy prices become a factor when investing in a ventilation solution. The energy consumption for buildings today is approx. 40% of the total energy consumption and the ventilation system is a very big influence on the total consumption. With a worldwide focus on the climate and climate goals, the eyes are rightly also on the construction industry. The requirements for energy consumption have become stricter, and it can therefore be an advantage to invest in a system that takes both into account - the climate indoors and the climate outdoors.
There are pros and cons to both central and decentralized ventilation. In this article, you will be provided with an overview of the most significant advantages and disadvantages of both solutions.
The difference between a decentralized and central solution
The most significant difference between central and decentralized ventilation is that the central solution has one unit that serves an entire building, or parts of it, while the decentralized solution is installed directly into the rooms that need ventilation.
The central solution, thus, requires comprehensive installation with ducts that goes through the entire building. It is space consuming, requires a large technical room, and has a high pressure drop, which leads to high energy losses. The extensive installation also means that there often is a need to close parts of the institution or building down, while the solution is put into place.
With a decentralized ventilation solution, on the other hand, it is possible use the building in the meantime. A decentralized solution is characterized by the units being stand-alone units:
“This means that they are easy to install, as they are ductless and can be installed directly into the room. One does not need to think about the building’s additional constructions or about the installation of ducts. It also means that the institutions who do not have the financial capital to have a ventilation unit in all the rooms of the school, can take one room at a time,” says Lasse Mikkelsen, CCO at Airmaster.
A decentralized solution is therefore often recommended for those buildings where it is difficult to run ducts through the building – for example when renovating schools or institutions. Central systems, on the other hand, are often used in new buildings, where the ductwork can be considered from the start. If one’s building or renovation project is best suited for a central or decentralized solution, is dependent on if the building is a new construction or renovation, whether it includes one large building or several smaller buildings, and which building typology the building has.
Built-in sensors ensure a healthy indoor climate with demand-controlled ventilation
A decentralized solution from Airmaster automatically results in a demand-controlled solution, as the units are only placed in the room or rooms that need ventilation – just as they only ventilate when needed.
With intelligent demand control, you can easily install and program a decentralized ventilation unit in relation to individual needs with one or more sensors. It can be a CO2 sensor, TVOV sensor, motion sensor, or humidity sensor:
“By, for example, having a TVOQ sensor and a CO2 sensor installed in the unit, you ensure that it ventilates according to several parameters – and always the most critical. The CO2 sensor measures the CO2 levels in the room, whereas the TVOQ sensor ensures that the ventilation focuses on easily evaporable organic substances, such as those coming from toys, paint and furniture,” says Lasse Mikkelsen.
In addition to the CO2 and TVOC sensor, it is also possible to install a motion sensor (PIR), which ensures that the ventilation unit begins when movement is detected, and a humidity sensor, which makes it possible to ventilate according to the humidity level in the room.
A central system often serves several rooms at once. If the ventilation must be demand-controlled according to individual requirements, it can be expensive.
Read more about Airmaster’s demand-controlled ventilation here
Increased focus on the environment in the construction industry
It is common sense to incorporate the environment and sustainability into one’s building plan, and it is a political goal to reduce energy cost in, for example, public institutions – both in order to reduce operating cost and to reduce the CO2 emission. This focus is also important to Airmaster:
“Together with the engineering company MOE, we have prepared an LCA analysis, which concludes that the total CO2 emission from a decentralized ventilation solution incl. operation is 52% lower than a central solution over a 25-year period. The analysis also shows that the total material consumption decreases by 50% by using a decentralized solution. It is important for Airmaster to incorporate sustainable solutions into our production and the way our units are used,” says Lasse Mikkelsen.
With a pipeless ventilation system, the use of metal and insulation is reduced, just as energy consumption is cut in half due to the absence of pressure loss in ducts. A central solution uses large amounts of raw materials such as control components, metal, and insulation, which makes it less environmentally friendly.
The contribution to the CO2 emission from the decentralized ventilation solution comes exclusively from the units, intake, exhaust through the outer wall, as well as electricity consumption from operation and heating.
Read more about the report, which has been made in collaboration with MOE.
Ready for air change?
As mentioned above decentralized ventilation is characterized by the units being installed directly into the rooms that need ventilation, without the need for ducts or a big, central ventilation unit.
Airmaster is Europe’s leading within decentralized comfort-ventilation, where we have the market’s widest range of products and has more than 100.000 installed units across the world. This shows that we have extensive experience in creating flexible and complete solutions without unnecessary energy consumption.
In our product-portfolio, we have both wall- and ceiling-mounted, floor-standing, and integrated units – all of which have a high heat recovery, a low energy consumption and an extremely low noise level.
“With decentralized ventilation with heat recovery, the users of the building will experience an improved indoor climate, at the same time as the heat is recycled. It provides an environmentally friendly solution and energy-saving benefits,” says Lasse Mikkelsen.
Are you curious about how decentralized ventilation can be integrated into your next construction project? Airmaster offers a free project plan, which concretizes the solution, identifies milestones, and comes with implementation proposals.