A recent episode of the ASHRAE podcast titled ‘Ventilation in Theory vs. Ventilation in Practice’, featured ASHRAE members Megan McNulty and Andy Persily, two seasoned professionals in the field of mechanical engineering and ventilation. This is part five of a five-part series.

…continued from part four.

This is part five of a five-part series. Image supplied by <a href="https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/3d-rendering-ventilation-system_22894128.htm#query=ventilation&position=0&from_view=search&track=sph&uuid=e87cfdef-a84c-4fb5-ad26-3834a843a64c">Freepik</a>

This is part five of a five-part series. Image supplied by Freepik

Retrofitting challenges of the ’80s

McNulty revisits an article she wrote for the ASHRAE Journal, sharing insights from a feasibility study on retrofitting buildings from the 1980s. These aging structures, designed to older ventilation standards, posed a unique challenge. The duo discusses the complexities of decision-making processes, emphasising the need to consider factors such as equipment configuration, tenant space intrusion, and cost implications. The conversation explores the feasibility of bringing these buildings up to current ventilation standards and highlights the importance of responsible retrofitting.

The dialogue transitions into a discussion about whether the complex decision-making process for retrofitting can be distilled into a replicable flowchart or guideline. Megan explains their attempt to create a comprehensive process, covering everything from evaluating cooling capacity to addressing toilet exhaust systems. The goal is to empower others to navigate the intricate journey of retrofitting with a systematic approach.

The duo touch upon the challenges posed by the unpredictable variable – people. They acknowledge that while physics and mathematics can guide ventilation studies, understanding human behaviour and responses remains a formidable challenge. The importance of focusing on occupants, the ultimate purpose of any building, takes centre stage.

McNulty concludes by asking Persily about the trends in ventilation research that hold promise. Persily highlights the growing emphasis on understanding how people react, both physiologically and psychologically, to different features of a space. The conversation underscores the evolving nature of research, with a renewed focus on the occupants who define the purpose of buildings.

As McNulty and Persily unravel the complexities of building ventilation, their insights offer a refreshing perspective on the evolving field. From the importance of direct communication with building stakeholders to the challenges and joys of retrofitting, the conversation provides a holistic view of the dynamic world of building ventilation.


Live webinar on ASHRAE website.