How to stop stack effect whistling through your buildings

shutterstock_lift shaft

Cold drafts, howling winds and banging doors can be avoided with careful planning, explain Steven Attrill and David Hamlyn of consultant RWDI

Imperial Green Pass lift 3

Careful positioning of lifts can mitigate against stack effect

Modern buildings provide a respite from both the freezing winds of winter and the scorching heat of summer, but not without some notable trade-offs. As season gives way to season, the greater the difference between the conditions outdoors and the controlled climates into which we retreat, the more likely it is we will again witness the manifestation of stack effect in London’s growing number of high-rise buildings.

As the outside temperature drops, for example, those who are staffing lobby reception desks will wish they had brought heavier sweaters as cold draughts infiltrate the lower floors, and occupants of the higher and lower floors will be treated to a variety of whistles, howls, and moans. On colder days, doors leading into and out of the building may be difficult to open – or to close – and some lift doors will not work properly.

What’s happening and why?

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