Do you know the various types of air conditioning systems for commercial buildings? HVAC loads are typically the highest expense for commercial buildings. This is greatly influenced by the geographic location of the building. If a building is closer to the Earth’s poles, either far north or far to the south, it will have higher heating expenses. Those in the tropics or closer to the equator will need year-round air conditioning that will mean higher cooling expenses.
Air Conditioning Systems For Commercial Buildings
Commercial buildings have a wide range of HVAC options, similarly to residential buildings, Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, but there are three systems that are most commonly seen in commercial buildings. These systems are:
- Variable-air-volume systems
- Chiller, cooling tower and boiling systems
- Water-source heat pump systems with cooling tower and boiler
Variable-air-volume, or VAV, systems typically have packaged rooftop units as well. These units include a condenser for the air conditioning, and either a gas or electric boiler to heat the building. If the building is in an area where the system needs to provide air conditioning with little humidity outside, an economizer can be added. Economizers help the condenser by sharing some of the cooling load.
Regardless of which mode of operation is in use, fans blow air into ducts that distribute it throughout the building. Dampers open and close based on cooling and heating needs. The dampers are controlled by the temperature set for each zone of the building and will open if the optimal temperature is reached.
VAV systems see reductions in efficiency if conditions are at a partial load. However, these systems are good for facilities with large roofs compared to the indoor space. VAV systems aren’t practical for multi-story buildings as they have limited roof space and other systems are better for vertical distance.
Chiller with Cooling Tower and Boiler
In this type of system, water is used as a medium to deliver or absorb heat as the water circulates through units provide the required airflow to the building.
If the system is cooling, heat is extracted from the cold water and dispels it into a secondary loop connected to the cooling tower. The tower releases the heat outside.
If the system is heating, the water passes through an electric, gas, or oil-powered boiler.
The heat will be exchanged between water and the air at air-handling units. Sometimes, the chiller and boiler will share a circuit. This means the entire building must be heating or cooling at the same time. If the system has four pipes, or two pipes for each mode, heating and cooling can be done at the same time.
These systems offer more efficiency than VAV systems and work better for multi-story buildings.
Water-Source Heat Pump System with a Cooling Tower and Boiler
Our experts here at Cool Air Today say if a building is looking for the best choice for versatility and efficiency, water-source heat pumps should be the option chosen. These systems work the same way as air conditioners. Based on the refrigeration cycle, heat pumps can operate in separate areas of a building and switch between modes as required.
The heat pumps either release or absorb heat in loads that balance out against one another. If more cooling is required, the tower dispels extra heat. The boiler makes up for the difference if more heating is required.
Just like the other systems, like central air conditioning, adding speed control to the pumps and funds improves efficiency. However, these systems are already among the most efficient systems on the market.
There are different types of air conditioning systems for commercial buildings. HVAC configuration is an important design choice for commercial buildings as it represents a significant cost in the longer term. Although there are various AC energy saving tips, it is important to consider the type of HVAC unit you need. Building layout, the height of the facility, and rooftop space should all be considered when deciding the best configuration.