Your buildings are made to support a wide range of features that improve its functionality. Some of these, such as downspouts and gutters, help to drain water away from a building’s foundation and structure, preventing moisture build-up.
Other features, such as vents and windows, improve air quality and comfort for everyone inside the structure by allowing air to move freely throughout the structure.
Louvres are employed in buildings as sun shade solutions, to provide resistance to precipitation, excessive noise, hurricane-force winds, or a combination of these issues – all while maintaining proper airflow.
What are Architectural Louvres for?
Louvres let air to move while preventing rain and debris from entering the structure. Some designs allow a building’s façade to provide natural ventilation, allowing it to ‘breathe’. Most buildings have louvre systems built to provide smoother air intake and exhaust, as well as better resistance to rain and noise intrusion. Engineers and architects, on the other hand, can use louvres in a variety of ways.
They can also be used as a simple but efficient screening solution for buildings to conceal unsightly equipment – or as an aesthetically beautiful yet cost-effective design feature for the facade.
Drainable, non-drainable, wind-driven rain resistant, combination, thin-line, acoustically rated, adjustable, and even extreme-weather resistant louvres are all available.
Make sure you understand the function of louvres and how they work before choosing a louvre system so you can be confident you’re getting the proper louvre design for your needs.
Make sure that the louvre system has an AMCA rating, which indicates that it has been tested and certified by the Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA); this information may be found on the manufacturer’s technical data sheet.
When are Louvres Required?
Louvres can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the design and capacity of the building. For example, a car park could need sufficient ventilation but not complete rain protection, thus a traditional louvre design might suffice.
On the other hand, electrical equipment in a generator or plant room may require foolproof protection from storms and hurricanes, as well as high-performance airflow specifications.
How do Louvres Work?
Fixed or operable blades fitted on a frame make louvres functional. The number, size, and style of the blades are determined by the type of ventilation and protection the louvre is required to provide. Each blade has a distinct arrangement that allows various objects to flow through it. A wind-driven rain louvre, for example, may enable air to pass through but not rain or, in some situations, debris.
When choosing an architectural external louvre system for your project, there are various factors to consider. These include:
- Louvre-Free Area
A large amount of empty space is beneficial because it allows more air to enter through a smaller aperture, lowering the cost of opening the wall and installing louvres. The free regions of a wall opening commonly range from 35 percent to 60 percent.
- Water Penetration
The louvre system’s ‘Point of Water Penetration’ is where water can travel through it. It is a measurement of free area velocity that determines when the louvre will begin to leak.
This ranges from 300 fpm (feet per minute) to 1250 fpm for traditional louvre designs, with the latter indicating high resistance to water infiltration.
- Resistance to Airflow (Pressure Loss)
Wind resistance is created by the design of a louvre as well as the shape of its frame and blades, and everything that obstructs the airstream – such as ductwork, filters, coils, and the building structure itself – causes resistance.