For more convenient operation, ridge vents and windows can be controlled by a thermostat and linear actuator motor. Setting the thermostat at the highest acceptable temperature will cause it to open when the interior temperature reaches the maximum desired setting and allow for unmonitored natural ventilation.
The cooling process described above helps to exchange air with little hassle to the homeowner. All controls contained in the motorized unit are weatherproof to protect the controls from any moisture which they may experience. Thermostat placement is crucial and should not be placed in direct sunlight, as it may force a false reading. Conservatories can utilize environment control systems to provide a comfortable living space year-round.
Conservatory environments can also be entirely automated to ensure consistent conditions are maintained. An environmental control system can be included in any conservatory to control temperature, humidity, shading systems, and more. Thermostats are set to operate based on a temperature range of approximately 5 to 10 degrees.
For example, vents can be set to open when the conservatory reaches 70 degrees and close when the temperature drops to 60 degrees. While the temperature is within this range, the vents will remain open and allow air to circulate. If need be, the vents can be opened or closed manually.
With proper planning, operable accessories can provide ventilation. The inclusion of doors, windows, ridge vents, and eave vents can aid in air exchange and provide proper air quality and cooling.
The use of ridge vents reduces the chance that the conservatory will overheat due to the ridge vent being located at the roof’s highest point, which allows hot air to escape as it rises. Ridge vents are opened via a motor or a pole operator and, unlike windows, multiple bays can be joined together and an entire roof line can open.
When windows are opened, cool air is drawn into the conservatory, forcing hot air out of the structure through ridge vents. The fresh air is typically cooler than the air inside the conservatory, thus lowering the temperature in the structure.
With the use of these systems, air moving into the conservatory assists in circulation and temperature balancing within the conservatory.
Heating and Cooling
Depending upon your location, it may be necessary to include a heat source to ensure year-round enjoyment of your conservatory. Customers often tie attached conservatories into the existing HVAC system, but you will need to consult with your original HVAC installer to ensure the system can handle the added load. If you are unable—either by size or by location—to tie into an existing system, radiant heat may be an option. Since radiant heat is placed in the concrete slab of flooring, this decision must be made very early in the conservatory design. When radiant heat is included in the floor, unsightly duct work and heating units are eliminated.
Although many conservatories are designed with natural ventilation in mind, providing a cooling system in the design of your conservatory will often enhance its year-round use. An HVAC professional may integrate your central cooling system into the conservatory with ease. Radiant cooling or evaporative cooling can also be incorporated to address both temperature and humidity within your conservatory.
Conservatory Shading Options
Pinoleum blinds are the most common variety of shades used in conservatories. Pinoleum blinds are available for roof and/or wall applications and can be fitted to accommodate specialty shaped glass. The shade system allows light to enter the conservatory while simultaneously blocking heat and reducing glare. These blinds are available in manual or motorized operating systems, a variety of colors, and are constructed from individual wooden slats that are woven together.
Pleated gravity fed shades are typically used on sloped roofs or walls in a Roman fold style. Shades are mounted to the interior of the glass roof and are operated with a motor or manual pull cord.
Wide span horizontal shades are used to span the eave lines of a conservatory. These blinds are designed in a Roman fold style with various fabric, color, and texture options available. When extended, the shades trap heat in the ridge, allowing the living space to remain cooler. On cool winter days, the shades can be retracted to allow additional sunlight into the conservatory for passive heating purposes.
Solar R blinds are attached to the roof line of a conservatory. This system is available in pleated or flat varieties and each fabric has an aluminum backing that reflects solar heat and reduces heat gain in the conservatory.
Perfect Fit ® blinds are attached to operable sashes that allow the blinds to move with the unit as it operates. The blinds are available in roller, pleated, and cellular styles. L Series blinds provide increased privacy and insulation because they have a smaller gap between the glass and edge of the blinds when compared to traditional systems.