Beulah
FreshAir
A Revolutionary
Ventilation System
Beulah FreshAir

A revolutionary ventilation system for STH BNK By Beulah

Residents of STH BNK By Beulah will have access to the freshest, healthiest and cleanest air in any Australian residential skyscraper, thanks to Beulah FreshAirTM, a bespoke centralised ventilation system. Designed to optimise sleep quality and productivity, the system will see fresh air directly ducted to every STH BNK By Beulah apartment, while a full heat exchanger system recovers energy from the exhaust air stream to minimise energy consumption.

Beulah FreshAirTM will also protect against noxious fumes, bushfire smoke, disease transmission and moisture issues by removing contaminants from the outside air. Ultra-high quality filters will be installed and managed centrally to maintain a consistent, high level of air quality in the home with minimal intervention or maintenance. As a result of this constant supply of fresh air while exhausting stale air, the oxygen content in each apartment is increased and will produce up to 10 times less CO2 compared to apartments and houses where stale air is recirculated.

Nick Adams, Building Services Leader Vic/SA of world-leading engineering, architecture, planning and advisory firm, Arup, sheds light on partnering with Beulah to develop The Beulah FreshAirTM system, allowing residents to breathe fresh, unpolluted air at the most comfortable temperature, regardless of the conditions outside.

Where did the idea for Beulah FreshAirTM come from? What was the inspiration behind it and the initial vision for it?

Our vision was to create the best possible indoor environment for residents, whilst minimising energy consumption, in line with our overall sustainability strategy for the building. The design takes inspiration from our research into emerging global best practices in residential tower design, with a focus on human experience and well-being.

 

What did the collaborative process with Beulah look like?

At each stage, Beulah has challenged us to innovate and give them the world’s best solutions, to make the best possible environment. The development and design team at Beulah are highly engaged, curious and intelligent, which has made the design process much more collaborative and integrated with the overall vision for the development.

How does the system work? And what are you most excited about?

The system consists of many components working together. The building is designed based on Passivhaus principles, which reduces the heating and cooling loads in the apartments and controls unwanted air infiltration, making them much more comfortable and energy-efficient. Each occupied room is provided with highly filtered air direct from outside, through a heat recovery ventilation system. The outside air is delivered to each space continuously, and contaminated air is extracted 24 hours a day, removing carbon dioxide and contaminants from the apartments. High-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters are provided as an option in each apartment.

These filters will remove 99.97 percent of particles sized at 0.3 micron or more, removing particles such as dust mites, mould spores, pet allergens, tobacco smoke and pollen. Openable windows will be provided for direct fresh air from outside, giving a connection to the outside environment. All apartments are provided with electric induction cooking, meaning the products of combustion from gas cooking are eliminated.

Each occupied room is provided with highly filtered air direct from outside, through a heat recovery ventilation system.

What are the health issues associated with breathing in stale/polluted air? Conversely, what are the benefits of Beulah FreshAirTM?

Gas cooktops produce carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and microscopic particles of soot, also known as PM2.5. These byproducts are known to be associated with poor health, including an increased risk of childhood asthma. Beulah FreshAirTM eliminates this risk. Poor ventilation rates to apartments can lead to a build-up of carbon dioxide and low levels of oxygen, leading to fatigue and poor concentration. Other effects of poor ventilation can include mould, headaches, dry throat, coughing, irritation of eyes and build-up of contaminants.

 

CO2 levels with Beulah FreshAirTM will be close to outdoor conditions

With the 24-hour continuous ventilation system to every occupied space, CO2 levels with Beulah FreshAirTM will be close to outdoor conditions, and are expected to be at least half that of typical Melbourne residential design. Poor filtration can introduce outdoor pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and ozone, which can irritate the nose and throat, exacerbate asthma conditions and cause other respiratory issues. The Beulah FreshAirTM filtration system is expected to reduce PM2.5 levels by more than 80 percent compared to outside conditions, and will remove dust mites, mould spores, pet allergens, tobacco smoke and pollen.

How is it different to live in STH BNK with Beulah FreshAir? How will Beulah FreshAirTM improve STH BNK residents’ way of living?

Apartments will feel fresher and cleaner, and residents will experience better health outcomes as a result.

 

What is your vision for the future of healthy buildings and sustainable development?

We need to shift the dial on building design to move from ‘green’ or ‘high performance’ to true sustainability which should have a net positive impact on the environment and the people within the building. In the current climate and biodiversity emergency, buildings should be net generators of energy and eliminate fossil fuel reliance. Occupants should have the opportunity to remain connected to their outside environment through features like permeable facades, lighting that reflects their circadian rhythm, daylit spaces and vegetation within and on the building. Healthy building design should support the physical, psychological and social health and well-being for residents. Our sustainable design strategy for STH BNK reflects this vision, and we are proud to be a part of it.

 

We need to shift the dial on building design to move from ‘green’ or ‘high performance’ to true sustainability…

We have seen a shift towards improving the ventilation and quality of air in buildings, mostly off the back of air-borne diseases. Can you share with us some interesting trends or stats you have seen around the need for improved ventilation, or healthier buildings, that Beulah FreshAirTM aligns with?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has certainly seen a heightened focus on indoor air quality, and rightly so. I have been involved in investigations into health facilities in a COVID context, and in some instances have observed poor practices around ventilation, such as turning off outside air in dwellings overnight to save energy, or pressurising dwellings such that air leaks to common areas from apartments. We need to do better than this, and globally we are seeing a sharp turn of focus in building design now to enhance outside air rates, better filtration and air distribution coupled with live monitoring. All of these principles are applied to Beulah FreshAirTM.

In tandem, we are seeing an industry-wide movement to generally better Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) in buildings, encouraged by the International Well Building Institute, The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS), Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star, The Living Building Challenge and many others. Arup has long been an advocate for healthy building design and we are deliberately encouraging these principles with our clients and projects. We also walk the talk on this, with our new Melbourne Quarter workplace being one of the first in Australia to be rated WELL Platinum.

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