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AirIDEA's Innovative Journey in Building Ventilation Systems

AirIDEA Polska Sp. z o. o. is a production and trade company specializing in building ventilation and HVAC systems based in Poland. With over 20 years of experience, it has become a trusted name in the industry. Good indoor air doesn’t just appear by chance. At AirIDEA, they understand the importance of a favorable indoor climate and know how to execute it in real-world scenarios. They focus on providing solutions that prioritize people’s comfort, building durability, and environmental protection and believe everyone should enjoy a pleasant indoor atmosphere.

In the complex world of building design and construction, maintaining a comfortable and healthy indoor environment is paramount. AirIDEA, a Poland-based company, is breaking new ground in the development of advanced ventilation systems, focusing on original product creation and optimized performance. Transitioning from its initial role as a sales reseller to a research and development powerhouse, AirIDEA has been using engineering simulation with SimScale to build in-house product design capabilities.

Founded as a distributor primarily partnering with Klima from Croatia, AirIDEA has shifted gears towards design and manufacturing. Now employing a dedicated team of 12, the company’s sales division spans across Poland, serving installers involved in both commercial and industrial projects. AirIDEA is making significant contributions to public projects—educational institutions, hospitals, and pharmaceutical facilities being the primary beneficiaries. Its main clientele includes installers, but they often establish contact and work closely with designers and architects to ensure optimal system performance. While architects and designers dictate the specifications and overall ventilation strategies, it’s the engineers who, with the help of AirIDEA, size, source, install, and optimize the equipment and are responsible for product performance. 

Sławomir Milewski, the owner and managing director at AirIDEA is a distinguished graduate of Warsaw University of Technology, holding a Master of Engineering degree with a specialization in Ventilation and Air Conditioning. He is the driving force behind AirIDEA Polska, a company he founded to specialize in the production and sale of innovative ventilation solutions. Catering to both the industrial and commercial building sectors, his enterprise has become a key player in advancing environmentally friendly and efficient HVAC systems in Poland. His expertise and leadership have established AirIDEA Polska as a go-to resource for state-of-the-art ventilation technology.

I’m a big fan of SimScale and want to use it more. We are keen to see more product features. Moving from being a reseller to a product developer was a big risk and with the power and accuracy of SimScale and their support, we have been more confident in developing our own products. I now have three new products in the development pipeline that will launch in the coming months, some with nozzles, others for more targeted ventilation and we are exploring new materials with sustainability in mind. Basically, with SimScale, we have been empowered to innovate.

Sławomir Milewski

Managing Director at AirIDEA

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in Ventilation Design

One of the defining attributes of AirIDEA is its utilization of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation tools like SimScale. By modeling airflow characteristics, pressure drops, and aerodynamics, the company offers improved ventilation solutions. Products such as the SZ30 and SZ50 slot diffusers allow for directed airflow and can be customized for specific room conditions. Both have extensively used SimScale during their development processes to evaluate optimal fin angles, pressure drop across the device, and to reduce airflow resistance. Its innovative triangular air guide has especially benefited from shape optimization using SimScale. The SZ30 and SZ50 slot diffusers represent extremely effective ventilation systems. They enable practical and convenient air flow direction in various configurations and are a perfect solution for ventilation systems with variable capacity. They can be mounted on walls and ceilings and represent a step improvement in diffuser design customization.

sz50 sloped air diffuser
SZ50 sloped air diffuser with a unique triangular guide. Their unique triangle diffuser part can rotate to cover a wide angle and can partially close to modulate airflow. This feature is particularly useful in air conditioning and fan coil units which often run at lower speeds to control noise, affecting the air mixing capabilities in rooms.
CFD analysis
CFD analysis on a range of AirIDEA products (top) and efficacy at room level (bottom)

Case Study: A Classroom Simulation Project

A new kindergarten school building in Warsaw, Poland was built using an innovative roof design and orientation. A request from the chief architect of the kindergarten was made due to its special shape that required an evidenced-based approach to ventilation efficacy and thermal comfort — considering that summer fresh air would be at 32℃. Simulations were needed to evaluate the fresh air load at peak summer and how natural ventilation would work with air conditioning. The architects also wanted to see the air movement in certain rooms, cold air draughts, and air exhaust pathways, again due to the unique shape of the rooms.

kindergarten in Poland
The new kindergarten building in Poland
kindergarten in Poland
The kindergarten is now built and running. AirIDEA is now involved in monitoring air quality to continuously optimize system performance.

AirIDEA was retained to assist in the classroom fresh air and thermal comfort provision according to national and European ventilation, air quality, and energy efficiency standards, some of the most progressive and strict in the world. The simulations using SimScale sought to answer several key questions:

  • Would natural ventilation suffice in maintaining thermal comfort, especially during peak summer conditions?
  • Does the positioning of sloped diffusers at different temperatures provide adequate air mixing?
  • Would the total pressure drop across all ventilation supply-side components (intake grills, ducts, dampers, and diffusers) be less than what the natural ventilation from average annual wind speeds could provide? 

At the room level, using SimScale, AirIDEA was able to evaluate the following parameters:

  • Room air mixing visualization
  • Spatial distribution of room temperatures and air velocities
  • Thermal comfort using PMV, PPD
  • Mean age of air for indoor air quality

Software Tools

AirIDEA uses Revit as their standard CAD software as it is also used by many architects and partners. Importing Revit models into SimScale as STL files is simple and proved to be a convenient workflow. The room models in SimScale contained heat gains from people, equipment, and infiltrations. The building fabric had thermal properties applied to it to represent typical U-values. The project employed convective heat transfer simulation using the K-omega SST steady-state model. The entire room, including AC units, windows, diffuser grills, and occupants, was mapped out in a physics-based mesh consisting of 14.4 million cells. Animations and augmented reality images were also created to visualize airflow behavior and communicate the various design configurations to clients and project partners.

sliced view of kindergarten classroom showing temperature effects of person heat gains
Slice through a 3D model in the kindergarten classroom showing temperature effects of person heat gains (red indicates higher temperature)
thermal comfort illustrations PMV (left) and PPD (right)
Thermal comfort illustrations PMV (left) and PPD (right)

After testing multiple placements and types of diffusers, it was found that the sloped slot diffusers blowing air horizontally toward the windows and another set at the top of the room, achieved effective air mixing. The supply air from outside was simulated at 32° C to comply with peak summer calculations. The design also met local building codes and energy rating standards and the Kindergarten has successfully operated in its first summer period of 2023 without any complaints.

temperature distribution in the kindergarten classroom in summer conditions
Temperature distribution in the kindergarten classroom under various summer conditions

AirIDEA is the epitome of innovation and technological adoption in the often conservative building ventilation sector. Through their strategic transition from being a sales reseller to a product developer, and by incorporating advanced CFD simulation tools, the company is contributing to raising the standard for indoor air quality and thermal comfort. The future looks promising as the team expands its use of simulation to really embed performance-based design and engineering simulation at the heart of its new R&D process.

I was a first-time user of SimScale and have now been using the software for two years. The outputs for thermal comfort and air quality are so simple to calculate and visualize in SimScale. Right now we are able to quickly show the efficiency of our solutions to architects and designers with proof and confidence without needing to commission physical laboratory tests that are laborious and costly. It shows our expertise.

Sławomir Milewski

Managing Director at AirIDEA

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