Give ventilation more priority when constructing houses

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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Dear Editor,

A smart home does not have to be limited to gadgets and fancy electrical systems such as security cameras, electronic gates, or remote-controlled appliances. The definition can be extended to include the construction materials used or the structural design. To this end, the focus here will be on ventilation.

There is a lot of wind lately that helps to lessen the effect of the unrelenting summer heat that is already upon us. Houses built decades ago have numerous large windows which allow breeze to pass through with ease. But the cooling impact of the breeze on a hot summer's day is for naught if a house does not have proper ventilation. Building a box-shaped structure with two main doors and a couple windows that can only slide open half way — as is the case in mass housing developments nowadays — does not allow for efficient passage of air throughout the structure.

Housing developers should take the approach of incorporating a combination of architectural expertise with aerodynamics (the study of air and other gases in motion) to create houses that are suitable for Jamaica's climate and that will remain somewhat cool even during the summer. It may seem laborious to merge multiple disciplines to build houses, but there are a couple of benefits, such as thermal comfort and a decline in energy consumption by reducing the use of air conditioning or other cooling apparatus (ie ceiling fans).

Therefore, there needs to be a greater emphasis on producing skilled civil engineers and mechanical engineers to play a role in the residential and the greater infrastructural enhancements for the country.

The Writer




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