Silenceair® in practice

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Homebush Residential Flats

This complex of flats was built in 2006. The flats were built near a busy road corridor, so adequate acoustic insulation was essential. During the planning process, the Council stipulated a mechanical ventilation system as part of the consent conditions. Normally this would require an expensive ducted air supply system, but the designers felt that this would be costly and time consuming. Instead they decided to utilise Silenceair® as part of an energy efficient and environmentally responsible approach to addressing the ventilation requirements.

Silenceair® 240 Acoustic Wall Vents were built into the exterior wall of each of the living spaces and bedrooms, and narrow (15 mm) undercuts were made to the bedroom and bathroom doors. The pressure differential created when turning on the bathroom exhaust is sufficient to draw fresh air into the buildings and circulate it through all rooms. A control switch near the front door allows the residents to switch off the system and save energy when the flat is not occupied.

Shepherd's Bay apartments, Meadowbank, Sydney

This upmarket apartment complex was designed to be air-conditioned and is located adjacent to a railway.

As with all air-conditioning systems, a percentage of the air that is cycled through the system must be fresh air. This fresh air is called 'make-up' air and is intended to maintain oxygen levels and stop the build up of toxins in the air. Old, stale air is expelled through either relief ducts or vents.

Due to the noise issues associated with the railway, a traditional design solution would call for a central pressurised fresh air supply system to be ducted through the building via the common hallways and corridors into each apartment. This would entail lowered bulkhead ceilings in the corridors and fire dampers where the air ducts penetrated the fire compartment of each apartment. It would also entail an expensive maintenance routine and ongoing operating costs.

An alternative design using Silenceair® was adopted. The existing bathroom exhaust is used to draw air out of the apartment. The required 'make-up' fresh air is drawn directly into the apartment via the Silenceair® units that are located in the bulkhead over the lounge room balcony door. The units are discreetly concealed behind an aluminium louvre.

This approach has several advantages, including:

  • Removing the need for a central supply air system and allowing each apartment to have a locally-controlled air management system
  • Eliminating the cost of extensive runs of ducting and the necessary fire dampers
  • Allowing higher ceilings in the corridors and hallways, enhancing the visual appeal of the apartments and increasing their value
  • Reducing energy consumption and cost
  • Reducing ongoing maintenance costs
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the building by minimising the quantity of materials used and energy consumed