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Air Conditioning Systems

Traditionally energy consumption was higher in commercial buildings during the winter
months with a need to heat occupied spaces. In recent years we have seen a shift to a
high summer demand for energy as there is a need to ‘comfort cool' occupied spaces
through the use of air conditioning. The energy efficient performance of an air
conditioning system is reliant upon good design, comprehensive commissioning and
effective operation and maintenance.

Chiller
A chiller is a machine that removes heat from a liquid via a refrigeration
cycle. Chillers can be of varying sizes and types to best suit a distribution
system and building design. The majority of chillers installed are either
water cooled or air cooled.

Chilled Beams
A chilled beam is a building cooling device that circulates air using the
principles of natural heat convection. The major advantage of a chilled
beam over more common forced air systems is that it circulates building air
without the noise and expense of ductwork and air handlers. Typically
mounted overhead near or within a ceiling, the beam is a type of radiator,
chilled by an external source such as Recirculated water. It cools the space
below it by acting as a heat sink for the naturally rising warm air of the
space. Once cooled, the air naturally drops back to the floor where the cycle
begins again.

Condenser
A condenser is a heat exchanger in which the refrigerant, compressed to a
hot gas, is condensed to liquid by rejecting heat to achieve a cooled space.
The condenser in an air conditioning unit is very similar to that used in a
common refrigerator.

Constant Air Volume (CAV)


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Constant Air Volume (CAV) is a type of heating, ventilating, and air-
conditioning (HVAC) system. In a simple CAV system, the supply air flow
rate is constant, but the supply air temperature is varied to meet the thermal
loads of a space. Most CAV systems are small, and serve a single thermal
zone. However, variations such as CAV with reheat, CAV Multizone, and
CAV primary-secondary systems can serve multiple zones and larger
buildings.

Ductwork
A system of distribution channels used to transmit heated or cooled air from
a central system (HVAC) throughout a building.

Fan Coil System


A Fan coil system is an air conditioning system used in buildings. A fan unit
is placed at each place which needs to be heated or cooled. A central plant
delivers hot or cold water to fan units. The fan draws air from the room,
blows it over the water coil and returns it to the room. Dehumidified air from
a central plant or fresh air from outside may also be used by a fan coil
system.

Internal Environment
In the context of mechanical building services the internal environment
refers to the strategy employed to heat, cool and distribute air around a
building. The Internal environment can be heated and/or cooled, whilst air
distribution could be through natural or mechanical methods, or a mixture of
the both for a mixed-made strategy. If comfort cooling is provided
throughout the internal environment would be fully air conditioned.

Mixed Mode
A mixed mode system combines the best aspects of both natural ventilation
and mechanical ventilation/air conditioning. The simplest example being the

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opening of windows to enable natural ventilation with air conditioning
available when windows can not be opened.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)


Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio applies to air conditioners and heat
pumps and describes the relationship between the Btuh, or cooling capacity
of a unit, and the amount of electricity required to run the unit. This ratio is
based on normal annual usage. Units with higher SEER ratings require less
electricity to cool a building and are therefore more efficient.

Terminal Unit
A Terminal unit is the final device in an air conditioning system located in
the space being heated or cooled. The terminal unit can be utilised to
determine the flow and direction of air whilst re-heating/re-cooling to
achieve the desired local temperature.

Variable Air Volume (VAV)


Variable air volume (VAV) is a technique for controlling the capacity of a
heating, ventilating, and/or air-conditioning (HVAC) system. The simplest
VAV system incorporates one supply duct that, when in cooling mode,
distributes approximately 55 degree F supply air. Because the supply air
temperature, in this simplest of VAV systems, is constant, the air flow rate
must vary to meet the rising and falling heat gains or losses within the
thermal zone