Which system is generally the best, of course, cannot be said, but it depends entirely on the conditions, but often waterborne climate systems are not considered, and therefore we want to highlight 5 important advantages with water-borne climate systems.
1. Smaller ventilation ducts - increased rental income
This is definitely one of the strongest arguments for water-based climate systems. Water is a very efficient energy carrier. The size of the ventilation ducts can be kept down if the ventilation flow is manufactured to the requirements of air quality and humidity and allows the water to handle the cooling requirement. Since the ventilation air should not only cool, the ventilation ducts do not need to be insulated, which means that you can save even more space and also quite a lot of money on the duct system.
Waterborne climate systems based on chilled beams or comfort modules are often chosen because of a high initial cost compared to other climate solutions. It can be argued that it depends on what is considered. If you save a couple of decimetres in building height on each floor, you can fit an extra floor within the framework of the building permit, increase the ceiling height in the offices or just save on the construction cost. More surface on each floor provides greater rental income, which can very quickly weigh up a potentially higher initial cost for a water-based climate system.
2. Best possible indoor climate - Individual comfort control
Nowadays, it is more or less standard to be able to set exactly what temperature you want in a new car. Even if you do not get exactly the set temperature, the feeling of having control over the temperature is important. In most cars, the temperature on the driver's side and the passenger side can also be regulated independently. This is because what is perceived as the best possible comfort is individual. Of course you also want to be able to set the temperature in your workplace or in your hotel room.
By installing a climate system based on comfort modules or active cooling beams, it is possible to regulate the temperature, individually, within a larger temperature range than with a system entirely based on airborne cooling. A relatively large amount of air is set in motion when the supply air induces a secondary flow through a chilled beam, but by utilising ceilings and walls to distribute the air in the room, the speeds in the residence zone can be kept down. This provides the conditions for creating a draft-free climate. Since no fan is used to circulate the room air through the heat exchange in the chilled beams, the sound level can also be kept at a very low level.
Studies show that people who work in an environment with poor thermal comfort have poorer performance ("Ten questions concerning thermal and indoor air quality effects on the performance of office work and schoolwork" by David P Wyon). This is a direct result of poor indoor climate. Saving energy and operating costs by allowing the indoor temperature to be a few degrees too high when the cooling effect is not enough will quickly become an expensive solution. A waterborne climate system with chilled beams or comfort modules meets future energy requirements and provides low operating costs without having to neglect the thermal comfort.
3. Lowest possible energy consumption
Today there are active chilled beams with built-in demand control of the ventilation flow and the water flow. This means that the energy consumption is reduced as the air handling unit only has to supply the amount of air required to maintain good air quality. The "free cooling" that one can count on in an airborne climate system when the outdoor air is colder than the air inside, can also be used in a system with active chilled beams. However, it must be remembered that it is treated outdoor air that we add to the building. It costs fan energy to allow this air to pass filters and heat exchange in the air handling unit. Therefore, it is more energy efficient to let the water handle the temperature control and the air regulates the air quality. You can save energy if you build the system so that you have access to free cooling on the water side.
Another way to save energy with the help of comfort modules is to let the comfort modules take care of the heating. The forced convection of the room air through the battery creates the conditions for an efficient heat transfer from water to air. This means that the temperature on the heating side can be lowered and thus the pipeline losses and, if necessary, reduced. Heat pumps can work with higher efficiency.
The next big step in energy efficiency enhancements of HVAC systems comes when we improve the needs control of water flows and system level temperatures. Problems with low temperature differences and high flows can then be handled. Better water temperature and flow control not only saves energy but also improves comfort by minimising room temperature fluctuations.
4. Low operating cost - Hassle free
A system with active chilled beams is almost maintenance-free. In dusty environments you may need to vacuum the batteries and visible parts at the appropriate intervals. Otherwise, the system manages itself, needs no service and has a long life. Combining this with the lowest possible energy consumption results in low operating costs.
5. Flexibility - Future-proof
Most of the buildings that are being built today will, during their lifetime, accommodate tenants with very different requirements and needs when it comes to the indoor climate. By installing a water-borne climate system with comfort modules from the start, you have the freedom and flexibility to offer future tenants the climate it desires.