NATURAL VENTILATION SYSTEMS: reducing the risk of Covid-19 in schools


In the current “Covid” climate, concerns are increasing over traditional air conditioning units and recirculating systems redistributing contaminated air within rooms.  Consequently, the importance of Natural Ventilation is growing as we look to provide healthier environments that are less “virus friendly”.

Natural Ventilation is a method of supplying fresh air to a building or room by means of natural forces (wind speed or air buoyancy). Passive ventilation with Heat Recovery (PVHR) is a Natural Ventilation system capable of recovering heat without using electricity.

It ensures that all of the air we breathe, within the built environment, is fresh and can be introduced comfortably without the need for further power, heating or inefficient cooling.

Ventive®, a building services innovator, design and manufacture ventilation solutions for schools and other high occupancy buildings.

It pioneered the design of naturally intelligent ventilation systems that deliver fresh, comfortable air at minimal energy cost.  Its proven, ‘displacement’ ventilation systems not only reduce the reliance on costly, energy- hungry mechanical systems but also ensure that

stale, contaminated air is safely removed from occupied spaces without mixing with incoming air

(which is the case with both recirculating and mixing mechanical systems).

Ventive has worked with top UK university researchers from Imperial, UCL and Brunel and the development of its technology has received multiple industry awards and central government support (BEIS’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, Innovate UK and the Energy Systems Catapult); Ventive is also part of the Made in Britain campaign. The company is based in West


To date, Ventive systems have been installed to over 20 schools (primary and secondary, state/free/fee-paying), a number of high occupancy buildings and over 200 homes in the UK.

The main advantages of their systems are:

  • 100% Fresh air – reduces the risk of recirculating aerosolised viral particles
  • Displacement ventilation – the most effective way of reducing infection risk according to science
  • Reduction in Carbon emissions; each system runs by harnessing nature and is net-zero in terms of emissions
  • Cheaper to install and operate than full mechanical plant; the Carbon Trust found that commercial buildings with natural ventilation saved an average of £30,000 per year
  • Requires less maintenance than air conditioning or fan-driven systems
  • Free night cooling reduces daytime starting temperatures and cools the building for free
  • Remote monitoring of air quality and remote system adjustments

The systems are Cloud connected and “smart”, autonomously reacting to their environment and transmitting data, allowing remote monitoring and over-the-air upgrades to optimize performance.

Ventive’s award-winning Windhive® system combines passive ventilation, heat recovery and system intelligence to supply up to 200 litres of fresh air every second. It adapts to real-time conditions to deliver an optimal balance of ventilation and comfortable temperatures, whatever the weather.

Ventive systems (prices from £5,000) are presently being installed at Crest Nicholson’s development at Bicester Eco Village and are installed at over 20 schools including:

o Guildford High School, Surrey Horniman Primary School, Forest Hill
o Petra’s Place, Fulham Talbot Heath Girls’ School, Bournemouth
o o Beechwood, Reading Southwark Pupil Referral Unit Connah’s Quay High School, Deeside Southend High School for Girls

Latest Issue

BDC 301 February 2023