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ARBS Foundation publishes new research on chilled beams

The ARBS Education and Research Foundation and Team Catalyst have published a detailed study of active chilled beam systems that they say offers “groundbreaking findings”.

Funding was provided to Team Catalyst to research active chilled beam systems and to compare the performance of two chilled water plant configurations:

  • Standard using chilled water plant of multiple chiller configurations
  • High-temperature chiller to generate and distribute high-temperature chilled water to active chilled beams at zone level.

The research built on the findings of a previous study that compared the VAV underfloor air distribution and passive chilled beam systems from an energy-efficiency perspective.

The new study was undertaken against the background of the most recent changes to the National Construction Code. Accordingly, it recognises the fact that heat output from lighting and IT equipment has decreased significantly. The geometry of the building used as the basis of the study remained unchanged.

The results indicate a 16 per cent predicted reduction in system energy consumption between the standard (STD) and high-temperature chiller (HTCH) variations of the modelled active chilled beam (ACB) HVAC system. This reflects savings in the chiller energy consumption for the HTCT system, some of which are offset by additional pumping energy required to move larger quantities of high-temperature chilled water around the system.

The report provides a breakdown of the predicted energy consumption for each HVAC sub‐system: pumps, fans, chillers, etc. The performance for both configurations of the active chilled beam system is estimated to be within the operational requirements of a 5 to 5.5 star Base Building NABERS rating for office buildings.

One striking result outcome of this study is the fact that the NCC2019 simulation parameters specified resulted in the predicted hourly thermal demand being similar in quantum to that of the predicted hourly cooling loads. More detail is provided in the body of the report. 

For more information and to read the study, click here.

Image, courtesy of NASA/Cory Huston, shows workstations at NASA’s headquarters building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which uses chilled beam HVAC technology.

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