Keeping Buildings Cool the Modern Way

9 March 2017
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog

Modern cooling systems for both offices and dwellings are becoming ever more important and this largely down to architectural trends. For example, the upturn in glazing for all sorts of architectural projects in the country means that buildings can easily overheat in the sun.

However, the ongoing challenge of climate change means that the problem cannot necessarily be overcome with the installation of energy-consuming air conditioning units. This poses something of a problem for designers, engineers and architects. Let's take a look at the technology on offer today which helps them to meet this challenge.

Passive Building Technology

Sometimes referred to as Passivhaus technology from the German term, passive building technology seeks to keep a building at an even temperature with very little energy consumption. This means that the need for both heating and cooling devices is minimised.

At an early design stage, passive building designers orientate their building to make the most of the heat from the sun, trapping inside a building and storing it, usually in concrete blocks under the floor and in the walls. With exceptional levels of insulation, this is enough to do away with heating systems.

Conversely, to keep a passive building cool, this same stored energy is used in the form of a heat exchanger to cool air and keep the inhabitants. When it is very hot, warm air is directed upwards via an open design with vents at the top level that allows excess heat to escape naturally.

Water Cooling

Chilled water for a building's cooling system can be transported efficiently into buildings these days. In large sites, many buildings can be cooled with the same chilled water system allowing for exceptional levels of economy. Essentially, a network installation of cooling water is delivered via a pre-insulated pipe that is fitted when the building is constructed.

Woven into its architecture, a chilled water pipe helps to maintain a structure's temperature with no moving parts. Such a system can be used to supply water either to either a conventional radiant cooling system or, if preferred, to an air conditioning system with much lower energy consumption.

Where drinking water is supplied, cool water dispensing equipment can be installed, too, something that is often a priority in offices where owners wish to do away with the electrical costs of cooling water locally. Although such systems are most commonly fitted to new build constructions, the flexibility of the insulated pipes made today means that they are equally at home being retrofitted alongside an existing plumbing system.