If you’ve ever been in a manufacturing complex or an old school live music venue, you may have noticed large exhaust fans and no HVAC conduits. The reason why may surprise you.
One of the common misunderstandings in today’s business environment is that you must install extremely expensive HVAC systems. In reality, that’s not the case. Ventilation fans are generally a better resource for fresh air flow at a fraction of the cost.
Exhaust Fans Meet Building Codes
Building codes do not force businesses to have HVAC. The codes require that you provide adequately circulated fresh air. The important aspect of air flow is how much “cubic feet per minute” (CFM) of usable air reaches each person in a facility. Basically, you calculate how much air an exhaust fan can move and divide that by the cubic feet of a space. Keep in mind that properly calculated air flow needs to draw fresh air from a source as well as expel it from the room.
Each type of business has a different CFM rating. Manufacturing spaces have high CFM codes to replace noxious fumes with fresh air. Places of assembly such as night clubs have the highest possible capacity rating of about 1 person every 7 square feet and must provide each patron with enough breathable air. Venting fans tend to serve these businesses far better than HVAC.
One of the inherent problems with HVAC is that they push air down. That means they can also re-circulate the fumes manufacturers are trying to draw away from workers. In places of assembly, building codes require high levels of renewed fresh air. HVAC systems simply lack the ability to create air flow streams that ensure quality breathing to large numbers of people tightly grouped together.
By installing ventilation fans at one end of a room and intake venting at the other, you can ensure clean air comes in from one location and foul air is expelled from another. There’s no mixing it together. Vent fans are mounted in the wall and you can strategically lower them so that clean air streams are created across machinery, work areas or a dance floor. The best approach isn’t to keep everything up high, it’s to bring fresh air directly to people.
At the end of the day, you can spend hundreds of thousands for an inefficient HVAC system or hundreds to get it right with exhaust fans.