Diffuse ventilation combines great air quality with optimal acoustics at El Carmelo College

A pilot project combining a suspended Ecophon acoustic ceiling with diffuse ventilation was carried out in Spain at the “El Carmelo de Amorebieta school” in the summer of 2021. 

Two 50 m2 classrooms were acoustically treated with Ecophon Gedina™ as well as Extra Bass which provides extra absorption at low frequencies, as well as an Ecophon Akusto™ Wall C panel on the wall opposite the teacher.

In renovating the spaces, the importance of indoor air quality was also taken into account in addition to the acoustics. This was done by incorporating a new ventilation system with high-efficiency heat recovery in one of the classrooms. In the second classroom, traditional mixing ventilation was used. To find out more about diffuse ventilation, please see this article.

El Carmelo college
El Carmelo college

The results have been very satisfactory. A primary benefit of diffuse ventilation is thermal comfort. Tomás Pineño, project architect, explains:

“In this project, the difference between a traditional ventilation and DCV is related to comfort in the space. Diffuse ventilation converts the entire ceiling surface into an emitter of fresh air inside the classroom. The classroom in which the distribution is done in a traditional way, has four diffusers for the same flow of air supplied. The consequence is that in the classroom with DCV, the usual localized air draughts near the air diffusers are not perceived. Ventilation noise is also lower, muffled by the sound absorbing ceiling”.

“The result is greater comfort for all people. In addition, the reduction of the distribution of ducts provides economic savings in the installation. Diffused air conditioning also offers advantages for the design since the ceiling is free for other installations such as lighting”, Tomás Pineño concludes.

Despite a different mode of diffusion, air quality measurements remain optimal. CO2 levels between the two rooms were almost the same, ensuring optimal indoor air quality with CO2 concentrations below 900ppm.

The video below describes the case in more detail and captures the voices of the architect, staff and students. It also explains the technology of diffuse ventilation in more detail.