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Improving Indoor Air Quality with Window Automation

How indoor air quality (IAQ) impacts human health and everyday comfort has grown considerably in importance in recent years…causing changes in management techniques on ventilation of commercial building environments.

Dangers of mold growth are created daily through normal activities like cooking, consuming food and washing…leading to negative effects on indoor air quality (IAQ) from increased humidity introduction of pungent air particles that foster an environment conducive to mold growth.

Improving Indoor Air Quality with Window Automation

…poor IAQ can cause a broad variety of health impacts which while mild, can still significant diminish the comfort of work efficiency of building occupants. ~ Sophi MacMilan – Environmental Scientist & CEO of the Vinyl Council of Australia

Potential health impacts range from general symptoms such as headaches and fatigue to more serious ailments including respiratory issues and allergic reactions.  Such problems can cause major dilemmas for stakeholders in buildings such as office complexes, given that employers are required by law to provide safe workplace environments to their staff.

The obvious solution to improving IAQ is effective ventilation that provides consistent and unimpeded airflow through a given indoor environment, replacing stale air and flushing out unwanted particulate matter.

MacMilan notes that ventilation during time frames as brief as one to five minutes can be sufficient to completely replace all of the indoor air contained by a room without causing thermal mass walls to lose temperature, meaning that warmth can be retained during the winter months.

While the advantages of effective ventilation are demonstrable, reaping these benefits in many built environments can nonetheless pose a challenge as it can entail the repeated adjustment of multiple windows.

This is particularly the case when windows are situated in hard-to-reach positions, or in large-scale built environments such as office complexes or group residential facilities, which possess a considerable number of windows in multiple rooms that are impossible to manually adjust en masse.

Window automation systems could provide the solution to these difficulties by unburdening occupants of the need to make regular adjustments to windows themselves in response to shifting environmental conditions, as well as facilitating the control of windows in hard-to-reach locations.

Much of buzz surrounding building automation systems (BAS) has focused on their ability to improve the efficiency of built environments via control of HVAC and lighting by adjusting such systems in response to the presence of occupants, time of day and environmental factors.

BAS lends itself more readily to the coordination of HVAC and lighting because they are internal mechanical and electrical systems that are much easier to integrate into a computerized control set-up.

New methods are fast emerging, however, to facilitate the automation of windows as well. They do so via the installation of various forms of mechanical actuators that enable either BAS or homeowners themselves to remotely control their operation.

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