Both you and your horses will appreciate a well-ventilated barn. You (and those who work in your barn) will appreciate that scents drift away and the temperature stays somewhat consistent when there is adequate ventilation. Your horses will appreciate that hot, stale air will have a place to go, allowing cooler, fresh air to be drawn into the barn. When designing and building your barn, there are several aspects of ventilation that you should keep in mind.
Consider Where the Prevailing Wind Comes From
When selecting the site and orientation of your barn, you should carefully consider where the prevailing wind usually comes from. Your barn door should not be facing the prevailing wind directly, as this will create a wind tunnel in your aisle, but it should allow the wind to push fresh air into your barn. Usually, you can offset the main door slightly from the prevailing wind, but make sure it is not facing more than 45 degrees away from it.
Install Multiple Doors to Increase Ventilation
Barns are often placed in open areas where wind comes from multiple directions depending on the day or the season. This may make it difficult to align your door so that it takes advantage of the wind. In this case, consider adding multiple doors. For large barns, you should have a door on each side, which you can open or close as necessary. For smaller barns, you may limit your doors to two sides, but be sure to include ventilation windows on the other sides.
Re-think the Loft
Many people consider lofts to be a great storage space. However, lofts can make natural ventilation much more difficult. You may find that hot air gets trapped underneath your loft and causes your horses to overheat in the summer. Getting rid of the loft allows hot air to rise and escape through your roofing vents. If you do insist on including the loft in your barn, make sure that the loft has ventilation screens in it so air can circulate around and through your loft area.
Install Vents and Windows Out of Reach of Your Horses
Windows or vents around your barn will allow hot air to escape. However, it is important that you place them properly. In general, windows and vents should be high enough that your horse cannot reach them. Just below the ceiling is a good location. If you need lower windows, consider installing an exterior split stall door or simple shuttered windows. Avoid glass at any height where your horse can reach it and potentially break it.
Consider Both Passive and Active Ventilation Solutions
If your barn is constructed with plenty of natural ventilation options and there is adequate wind in your area, then you will be able to get by with passive ventilation. This is simply opening vents in your roof and along your walls that will allow hot air to escape and naturally pull cool air into your barn. However, if your barn is located in a less-than-ideal location or your natural ventilation insufficient, you can pair it with an active ventilation system. This usually includes a fan that automatically turns on when the temperature or humidity inside your barn reaches a certain point.
Proper ventilation should be one of the most important aspects of your ideal barn. It will allow you to skip expensive extras such as heating and cooling systems and invest your money in other luxuries such as solar energy, hot water, and a barn restroom. If you are concerned about the ventilation of your barn, talk to an expert who can help you design an appropriate ventilation system. Contact horse barn construction workers for more information.