Monday, 19 August 2013

Making mysteries: Why?

I've been off the air for a while, neither irresistibly excited nor sufficiently offended to put it into words.  But an article that appeared to be a cosmic conflation of the way architects seem to prefer the ineffable to the rational left me spluttering.  That it relates to a building right here in Oz is just another cosmic coincidence.

In her article on Inhabitat, Melbourne's One Hot Yoga Uses Energy Efficient Heat Recovery to Make You Sweat, Bridgette Meinhold, gives a sweetly simple description of a sweetly simple adaptive reuse, an all white and Scandinavian raw pine yoga retreat.  But this one happens to promote one of those offshoots of yoga that cunningly accelerates your weight loss, or merely shortens the time you raise a sweat, by making you do it all in tropical temperatures.

In Melbourne, most of the time, that involves artificial heating.  And if you don't want the place to smell like a teenager's old gym sock, you have to have ventilation.  Goodness me, the architects actually realised that it would be a good idea to recover some of that precious heat they had expensively put into the air, before throwing it away and replacing it with the usually decidedly chilly Melbourne air from outside.

And this is where any northern European reader would start to roll around on the floor with disbelieving laughter.  If she is to be believed, Meinhold gets all excited about a ventilation rate of one whole air change per hour, and breathlessly reports:
'When we asked the designers to give us more details about the system, they told us, 'It is the only studio in Australia to have this technology. That is really all we can say without giving away our secret recipe!'”
Obviously never heard of the variety of heat exchangers, including the really simple flat plate type, that are now mandated for ventilation of  houses in colder climates.  And which, tellingly, are capable of significantly higher than one air change per hour if they need to deal with any sort of serious ventilation task.

Why the mystery?  Now if there is some way of avoiding even the relatively small amount of parasitic fan power to drive the ventilation, I might even be interested...... Honestly, when I aw the title, I thought they had it down to recovering the metabolic heat given off by the clients, to run an autonomous system!!


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