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Tips for choosing AHU's for smaller rooms

Retail premises and similar smaller premises housed in residential buildings often lack their own technical room and are usually located on the ground floor. This must be taken into account when choosing an air handling unit. Such premises place special demands on the ventilation solution. In this blog, we go through what you need to keep in mind when choosing air handling units for small commercial premises.

Space efficiency

Smaller shop premises are often housed on the ground floor in buildings that are primarily intended as residential buildings. In many cases, such buildings lack a dedicated technical room, which is why the air handling unit must be placed inside the shop premises. Therefore, it is important that the air handling unit has high adaptability and can be mounted, for example, in the ceiling, in a cabinet or in another discreet way, so that it does not block revenue-generating floor space or become an eyesore.

Noise level

Air handling units that are installed close to customers or visitors must be silent. Uninterrupted exposure to monotonous, low-frequency sound can cause health problems - high blood pressure, increased heart rate, nausea and headaches. Of course, both you and your customers want to avoid this, so the lowest possible noise level is an important factor.

Air quality

Energy efficiency is always important, regardless of the size of the premises. The difficulty is to combine high energy efficiency with a good indoor climate. The importance of the indoor climate for shop premises is often overlooked - one mostly thinks of attracting customers to the shop, and easily forgets that customers who have entered must meet a pleasant indoor climate, so that they stay and take the time to study the shop's offerings.
An important factor for the indoor climate is good ventilation. A good way to achieve this is to measure the content of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the indoor air, and control fan speed and air flow based on CO2 sensor signal. Thereby, the operation of the air treatment unit can be adapted to the present needs, so that a pleasant indoor climate is achieved with the least possible energy consumption and both air quality and energy efficiency are optimised.

Ease of use and support

Two more important requirements must be met: the unit's control system must be user - friendly and its basic settings easy to adjust without expert knowledge, and the unit supplier must be able to provide well-functioning technical support when unexpected problems arise and must be resolved quickly. A shop without proper ventilation will quickly lose customers and revenue. This is especially important for smaller premises, which are often housed in buildings whose operations managers have experience only of residential ventilation, not of air handling units for shops and other commercial premises.

Rotary heat exchanger or plate heat exchanger?

A heat exchanger recovers parts of the energy used for heating or cooling the room air and transfers it to the supply air. This means a significant energy saving. In air handling units, there are two main types of heat exchangers: rotary heat exchangers and plate heat exchangers. Solutions with battery heat exchangers or separate supply and exhaust air units are very rarely used, unless the air treatment unit is to be connected to an already existing supply and exhaust air system. In plate heat exchangers, the exhaust and supply air are led through separate ducts, separated by dense plates through which heat is transferred without the air streams being mixed. In rotary heat exchangers, the heat transfer takes place instead via a motor-driven rotor, which through its rotation is alternately flowed through by exhaust and supply air. This means that some mixing of the air streams takes place, whereby some of the moisture in the exhaust air is transferred to the supply air. This means that the moisture content of the indoor air is better preserved.

Which is then better - plate heat exchanger or rotary heat exchanger? As so often, the answer depends on the circumstances. If the building is located in an area with a dry climate, rotary heat exchangers are often preferable, as they maintain the moisture content of the indoor air better. If the air handling unit supplies a kitchen or a bathroom, on the other hand, plate heat exchangers can be a better choice, as the air streams are kept completely separate and no transfer of food or other odors between exhaust and supply air can take place. Traditionally, rotary heat exchangers are often used in Northern Europe, where the air is cold and dry in winter, while plate heat exchangers are more common in Central and Southern Europe.

So how do you choose the right one?

The most important factors when choosing air handling units are low noise level, user-friendly control system, high energy efficiency and space efficiency. The air handling units in our GLOBAL series are designed based on these requirements and have a number of well-thought-out solutions for small and medium-sized commercial premises. Feel free to contact us for a discussion about which air handling units best meet your needs.