Public buildings

Public buildings

The meaning of public buildings in this guide is not that they are public or government owned, it is a way to gather buildings with particular requirements. The characteristics of the visitors’ occupancy and activity patterns varies between this guide’s presented building types, and they differ from the more traditional offices, hotels, schools and sports facilities. Public buildings are the same in regards to the vast variations in occupancy and activity, but each type of building has their certain uniqueness that we aim to explain. To be clear, this guide tackles the challenges and requirements of libraries, museums, concert halls and congress venues, hospitals, care rooms and the like.

What is indoor climate in a public building?

In nearly all other guides from us at Swegon, we focus on ventilation, heating and air conditioning in relation to health and comfort of the people inside buildings. We normally argue that, since people in the industrialised world spend nearly 90% of their lives indoors, it is important to make sure the indoor climate is safe and that it supports peoples’ ability to perform and feel well. The time spent in the indoor environments exemplified and specified in this guide could possibly be seen as snap shots of a person’s life, and someone could therefore argue that these are of less importance.

We think not. First of all, these buildings are workplaces for a lot of people and they should be able to pursue a good job at all times. Further, even though the time spent in a library, museum or hospital may be short in comparison to the time spent in other places, the ability to grasp a lot of information or experience something that speaks to all senses, requires a good indoor climate.

 

Learn more in our Indoor climate guide

Or contact us and let us tell you more

Not completely unlike an office or a hotel

These buildings can feature multiple stories of library balconies, numerous square meters of delicate fine art, magnificent concert halls made for perfect sound experiences or various care environments where the visitors are as delicate as the museums’ respected pieces. This guide will put the spotlight on these buildings’ special requirements, but as said, here are also offices throughout, and perhaps other indoor environments such as conference rooms, restaurants, kitchens etc.

In the below guides, we share deep knowledge about the latter mentioned applications, we give recommendations and we provide examples of different solutions. The information can be highly relevant in the pursuit to create a perfect indoor climate also in public buildings so don't miss out.

 

Go to our experts' thoughts on an indoor climate solution in a hotel

Or, see our office guide for more insights

Worth knowing when it is an older building

There cannot be any general comment made in regards to the age or structure of the buildings in this guide, but it is reasonable to touch upon the fact that it might be older buildings with certain restrictions in terms of change and renovation.

As an example, a building which is preserved for cultural reasons is likely to have restrictions in terms of exterior adjustments. To provide such building with air handling units (AHUs), heat pumps or chillers on the roof top is simply not doable, the same goes for exterior duct work. Even the interior might cause limitations in regards to modern indoor climate solutions, aesthetics is one reason, but an older robust construction can have 30-40 cm thick floors. With that, certain issues arise in terms of water pipes for hydronic products or duct work coming through the building.

 

Here is a reference case as an example

We explain indoor climate with examples

The indoor climate is something that cannot be touched or seen. It is a combination of several factors which we normally know a lot about, but which are hard to describe in words or numbers. To explain how important these factors are, and the balance between them, we will exemplify the most apparent indoor climate factors by looking at a few different kinds of public buildings.

Sound in a concert hall might be too obvious

Most will describe sound as incredible music, or associate it with something soothing, like the whirl of ocean waves. However, sound can also be unpleasant and disturbing and then be identified as noise. To eliminate disturbing sound is one of the most prominent requirements for concert halls and the like.

Concert halls are designed for the beautiful sound to be heard. Musicians practice and perform on these scenes and to bring the best out of each player and instrument, the environment needs to be free from both draught and sound. Or more accurately, free from noise.

 

Learn more here

Varying humidity levels – not for books or fine art

From an indoor climate perspective, it is far too often that humidity is considered negative and harmful. Worth to think about then, is that many can relate to chapped lips, soar hands and dry eyes which is a result of a too dry indoor climate, often caused by cold and dry outdoor conditions.

Believe it or not, but the fine art, historic findings and stuffed animals in museums or libraries are just as, or in fact even more, sensitive to changing humidity levels than humans are. Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate humidity fluctuations when designing and providing indoor climate solutions for museums and similar places.

 

Let us share our knowledge

Design not to be seen

The above building types do not only face challenges in regards to creating a healthy and comfortable indoor climate, these buildings often have design requirements to also consider. Building technique such as elevators and ventilation can be asked to be constructed in a way that makes them disappear in the interior. One expample is the Malmö Live concert hall in Sweden where we custom-built low-impulse air diffusers and fitted them underneath each seat to get them out of sight. In Germany, at SXB in Berlin and Städel Museum in Frankfurt, our Swegon product brand, SLT, designed air diffusers to in one place stand out, and in the other case blend in.

However, it is not necessary to customise products that far. Most of our room units come in different shapes and many can be delivered in customised colours. 

 

See our reference section for different design alternatives

More than ventilation is needed

If someone asked what is the most important in terms of indoor climate in a hospital, many would probably answer “ventilation”. That is, for numerous reasons, absolutely right - it is vital to ventilate a hospital building in a way that minimises the risk of virus and bacteria to spread. Implicitly, it is critical to ensure sufficient ventilation where surgeries take place.

However, a hospital cannot be ventilated at full speed in all areas. Care units, doctors’ offices, waiting rooms etc. all needs to offer a comfortable and productive indoor climate. These spaces of a hospital is partly for people to perform a good work, but it is also places where older people may live, where patients might be asked to partly undress for their doctors appointment and where a multitude of emotions can affect how people feel inside. The indoor climate has to be comforting.

 

More about hospitals and care rooms

Reference projects

As indicated in the introduction to this guide, the buildings in this section do not necessarily have a public ownership, the term is used as an umbrella to gather information about an entire range of different buildings. To be consequent and simplify the navigation on our website, we have therefore compiled our reference cases related to this guide under the same label, "Public buildings".

 

To our reference cases of public buildings