Proper ventilation in homes is important because of a lot of reasons. Proper ventilation is necessary for a good atmosphere and quality of living.
Passive ventilation is not only good for the body and mind, but also makes for lower power bills, as it minimises the need to switch on fans for cooling. Traditional houses in Kerala were designed to provide plenty of natural ventilation by having a four sided integrated structures facing the four directions and a `nadumuttom' or central compound, which let in not only air and light but also the rain. Vasthu, the ancient building code, takes into account the need for proper ventilation in houses.Some architects borrowed from tradition in an attempt to promote natural ventilation in the most cost-effective manner. Honeycombed walls instead of windows cut costs
Modern architecture too has accepted the traditional concepts and improved upon them. In the process, certain drawbacks of old-style buildings, such as small and dark interiors, were overcome. They have an imperative to save energy and skylights or roof-lights have emerged as a popular lighting system for commercial as well as residential buildings.
Another technique inspired from tradition, is the `mukhappu’, an air vent located at the side of the sloping roof. The roof acts as a chimney to allow the hot humid air to escape so that cooler air from outside is virtually sucked in. Providing optimum ventilation becomes a costly proposition as large windows mean that much more timber and steel for construction.
Security concerns can cause new age modifications to the designs borrowed from traditional techniques. The `nadumuttom' now has to be fortified by an iron grill fixed directly to the section of the concrete roof over it.