Ventilation is one of the most important considerations when designing a barn that is healthy for your animals. Without superior ventilation, your barn becomes a breeding ground for disease and contamination. Luckily, good ventilation doesn’t require expensive equipment or running energy-guzzling systems. A ventilation system that reduces the risk of disease and benefits the environment is easy to achieve—given the right design knowledge and techniques.
The goal for a healthy stable is upward ventilation. Mechanical systems, like electric exhaust fans, are not only expensive to maintain and run, but can put the safety of your barn at risk. Most obviously, mechanical systems can be a fire hazard. Yet they also pose danger by the way they ventilate: exhaust fans draw air laterally across the barn. The horizontal airflow increases the risk of passing pathogens and unhealthy gases from one stall to the. Upward, vertical ventilation minimizes the amount of damp, stale, contaminated air in the stables, which prevents the risk of spreading disease.
All of my designs create this type of ventilation, which harness natural solar and wind power to effortlessly provide a strong interior current and upward movement of air in the barn. Even on a still summer day, the air current in a Blackburn-designed barn should be strong enough to ventilate the entire interior.
A few factors enable this energy-efficient, healthy ventilation system. First, the large roof surface of barns and arenas capture solar energy, heating the air at the ceiling. Heat generated by the horses also rises, as long as stalls are designed with open ceilings that allow air to freely flow upward. As warm air rises and accumulates at the ceiling, cooler outside air is drawn in near the floor, creating a vertical airflow path. Proper design of vents along the barn roof permit the hot, damp air to escape, making room for cool, dry air to enter through stable openings low in the perimeter walls. Second, the roof surface captures the natural wind flow to maximize the amount of fresh air entering the barn. Wind moving over a large, steeply sloped roof produces high pressure on the windward side of the barn, which is balanced by low pressure within the barn and on the leeward side. This Bernoulli effect pushes hot air out and brings in fresh air. Placement of the barn with regard to the prevailing wind patterns can maximize this effect, increasing the amount of fresh, clean air in the barn.
By combining the power of solar energy with natural wind, a barn designed using these principles can function as a large, air-circulating machine, eliminating the need for air conditioners or heaters. The result is a healthy stable for you and your horses.