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The Carbon Neutral Design Project:
Carbon Neutral Teaching: Curriculum Materials Development
Pablo La Roche
California Polytechnic State University

Fall 2007, 2008 graduate/undergraduate elective ‘Topics Studio’

Air Flow Analysis

Air Flow Analysis

Design Performance Objective

CFD Analysis using Ecotect


Student: xxx




Fall 2007, 2008 graduate/undergraduate elective ‘Topics Studio’

Air Flow Analysis

Natural ventilation can be a very effective cooling strategy. In hot and humid climates it can provide evaporative cooling in our skins. In hot and dry climates it can cool the interior structure of the building which would then act as a heat sink during the day. If natural ventilation is desired then it is necessary to determine how the air flows through the space with the openings.

Investigative Strategy

Using Ecotect and Win Air determine the pressures and direction of air movement through different areas of the house. Layers should be cut in different horizontal and vertical layers to understand this pattern. The model is analyzed inside Ecotect exported to WinAir and then imported back to Ecotect.

If these digital tools are not available a wind tunnel can be used. Simple tunnels have been built by my students in different courses from 2nd to 5th year.

This exercise introduces students to air flow analysis and introduces the student to the basic principles that will help him understand how the air moves inside the space.

Evaluation Process
CFD analysis in key sections should indicate adequate air movement through the spaces when the windows are open.
Information about the Project and Studio

• course outline

• project outline

Evaluative Criteria
If air movement is required this analysis permits to determine if the air is moving as expected.
Cautions/Possible Confusions
Students should understand that they are analysing one direction and air velocity at a time.
Range of Applicability in terms of CLIMATE
This type of exercise is valuable for all climate zones but should be noted to produce different results for various locations.
Range of Applicability in terms of TYPE
This can be used for any building type.
Reference Material
Ecotect -
Ecotect discussion forums -
WinAir -
Duration of Exercise
Two classes.
Degree of Difficulty / Previous Knowledge Required

Air Flow Analysis

Plan View of Air Flow Analysis

Air Flow

Ventilation Diagrams for Housing




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