Many commercial spaces now have a trend of having no suspended ceilings, rather opt to resort for having an open area resulting in a more spacious feel. Though this is architecturally sound, and artistically beautiful it does pose as a problem when it comes to looking for an appropriate path for air to return. According to research there are a few ways which you can adopt in order to go around this problem. Given below are fixes to the airflow issue of having an open plenum office.
Oversize rather than undersize
Architects will usually only look at things from an aesthetic point of view which is why open plenums usually have rather small return air openings as opposed to larger ones. Although if the decision was to be made by an engineer the look would completely differ, as they usually prefer having a much larger air opening for the air to flow through effectively. For a thorough airflow always make sure to have a openings that allow air to transfer at a velocity of about 240 feet per minute. Read this article to gain information about other building materials for for your workspace.Selected dropped ceilings
Though the aesthetic effect of an open plenum is attractive, in addition to the issue of the return air, it causes a stir when it comes to the acoustics of the given space. You will be able to hear everything from even the smallest leakage, to the sound of air travelling because there is no barrier to keep the sounds defined to a certain area. The solution to this could be a suspended ceiling at specific areas to provide a cloud to create an acoustical buffer.
Avoid returning air from tenant spaces
In a building that have a suspended ceiling, the return air had a way of reaching the central return opening, but when you have two adjacent office spaces with an open plenum there is not location for the air to return, thus leading to undesirable effects. To be able to fix this issue, a clear plan has to be drawn up to be able to successfully provide every tenant space with the necessary return air paths.
Identifying ductwork on the ceilings
If the core area of the open plenum is covered with ductwork all over the place, this can affect the path in which the return air flows. Since there will be a reduction in the space available to for the air to flow, even if the opening are a considerable size, the patterns of this flow will only get block rather than flow freely. Thus engineering teams have to come up with unique ways to find paths for all spaces to have an unrestricted airflow.
If you have an open plenum at your office space makes sure you look into the airflow problems and solve them without any further delay.