Chilled Beams: A Viable Alternative to VAV Systems

Chilled Beams: A Viable Alternative to VAV Systems

By Greg Cunniff, Applications Engineering Manager, Taco, Inc.

Chilled beam technology works in tandem with a central air system, which is calibrated to circulate only the amount of air needed for ventilation and latent-load purposes. The chilled beams provide the additional air movement and sensible cooling/heating required through the induced room air and secondary water coil. As ventilation moves through venturi nozzles, creating a low-pressure zone within an active beam, room air is induced upward where it makes contact with the cooling coil. This air and primary ventilation air then mix and are delivered through linear slot diffusers.

The Convective Cooling Component is Natural Convection.

An active chilled beam will add considerable cooling capacity.

It’s in this way that active chilled beams transfer a huge portion of cooling or heating loads from the less efficient air distribution system to the more efficient water distribution system. As more systems are installed in the U.S. and Canada, it will become clear that chilled beam technology has developed into a viable alternative to conventional variable-air-volume (VAV) systems.

What makes this technology so interesting is its broad application for commercial structures and extreme energy and thermal efficiency. A key advantage is that a chilled beam system requires very little ceiling space and height. Another advantage is the high energy carrying capacity of water via pipes. A forced air system is significantly less efficient because of the low density of air, which necessitates large ductwork.

InEuropeintegrated/multiservice chilled beams have circulation systems incorporated into lighting, sound, sprinkler and cable pathways – in time we can expect this development to make its way across the pond to us as well.

Next up…In summary, benefits of chilled beam systems.

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