When specifying a fan or ventilation system, one of the most important considerations is the number of air changes per hour (also known as air change rate) needed to sufficiently ventilate the room. It is equally crucial to take into account the volume of outside air (fresh supply air) that the room requires. This can be calculated based on the number of people typically living or working in the space and the size of the room itself. These requirements can depend on a number of factors but the nature of the room’s usage is a key place to start. It is generally considered that four air changes per hour is the minimum air change rate for any commercial or industrial building but with many environments been more sensitive and occupied more, higher air change rates apply.
It is important to note that these air changes per hour are only for general reference and does not include specific situations where contaminated air, chemical dust or gas is in the air stream such as local exhaust ventilation, cleanrooms, powder control and other stringent applications.
Air changes per hour (ACPH) is a measurement of air volume that is added to (or removed from) a room divided by the total volume/size of the room. Put simply, it measures how many times the air in the room is replaced. Higher ACPH values mean better ventilation. The formula is as follows:
ACPH = Q / Vol
To find the volume of air required to properly ventilate a space, you’ll need to have an estimate of the typical number of people occupying it and know what the space will be used for. Then, simply use the table below to multiply the number of people by the required m3/hr per person to determine the required volume of air. In unoccupied spaces such as public garages you do not need to know the number of occupants and can refer to a common number of air changes required for that environment.
Airflow is the volume of air moved by a fan per unit of time, usually expressed in cubic metres per hour M3/hr
The table below outlines reference values of air volume split by room usage for commonly occupied spaces according to DIN 1946 part 2. This is a standard set by the German Institute for Standardisation and is accepted worldwide.
You can download the full Air Change per Hour rate chart in unoccupied spaces by using the slide in bar on the lower right of your screen.
|Room||Minimum Outside Air |
Stream per Person (m³/h)
|Recommended Number of |
Air Changes per Hour
|Toilets||30||4 (private) 10 (public)|
|Showers||60||6 (private) 10 (public)|