The government released a new set of guidelines this week to combat COVID-19 transmission, emphasising the importance of masks, distance, hygiene, and well-ventilated spaces. It has been stressed that “ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission” from an infected individual to others.
It was recommended that outdoor air be introduced into workplaces, houses, and wider public spaces, as well as that steps be taken to increase ventilation in these spaces.
It was also recommended that fans, open windows and doors, even partially open windows, be strategically placed to introduce outdoor air and increase indoor air quality. It also said that adding cross ventilation and exhaust fans is helpful in curtailing fans running if the windows and doors are locked, it said.
To generate the optimal air flow for optimum protection from indoor infection, add an exhaust fan or convert a pedestal fan into an exhaust fan by turning it to face outdoors, according to the guidelines.
COVID-19 pandemic and prolonged stay-at-home phenomenon, according to Shalini Chandrashekar, principal designer and co-founder, Taliesyn- Design & Architecture, have revised the value of comfortable dwellings.
Optimizing the use of natural sunlight
By orienting the openings toward the northeast (N-E), an open breezeway can be created within the built volume. Orienting the kitchen in the southeast (S-E) will reward the mundane morning chores with the soothing morning sunshine, and locating the bedroom in the southwest (S-W) can pull in the warmth of the afternoon golden sun, all such conscious considerations can come in handy when designing a well-ventilated home, she advised.
Furthermore, strategically placing the openings while keeping the sun path and wind direction in mind lowers the operational costs of mechanical temperature regulation and indoor lighting, allowing the architecture to take on a more elevated spatial identity, she adds.
In India, people prefer to keep their windows closed to keep insects out and preserve privacy. Openings with screens or jaalis can solve this problem by allowing fresh air in while maintaining protection and privacy.
Windows with buck mesh and sheer curtains inside are positioned disgonally to allow for instant cross-ventilation in the room. Because of the heat strength coming from those directions, large glass walls on the south and west are typically closed.
“It’s best to ensure that the prevailing wind direction of the site/city is taken into account and the fenestrations are placed in accordance with them to maximize the air flow,” Meena Murthy Kakkar, Design Head and Partner, Envisage, says.
Keeping the house dry
For proper ventilation and hygiene, it is important to keep the house dry. To keep the dampness out, create a dedicated wet utility area, which is a semi-covered utility room for washing and drying. Powerful exhausts in the kitchen and toilets, as well as easy-to-open windows, are a must if the position allows it. To keep the kitchen dry, place it in the sunniest part of the house.
Segregating wet and dry areas
If you have a balcony in a shady corner or a house without a balcony, invest in a dryer to prevent a dark and musty odour inside. Separate the dry and wet areas of your bathroom’s bathing enclosures with a partition. This also aids in preventing moisture from entering your quarters. Invest in high-capacity exhaust fans.
Arun K.R., senior architect at Brick&Bolt says, “We usually take care to provide sufficient and proper air circulation by having larger windows. Since morning sunlight is so beneficail, openings to the east help.”