Optimizing conditioning systems in the perimeter zones of office buildings

  • YEAR
    Do, Hung Quang
    Luther, Mark Brandt
    Matthews, Jane
    Martek, Igor
    2022 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


Despite recent advances in thermal comfort research and conditioning technology, providing thermal comfort in office buildings still faces several difficulties resulting in discomfort, reduced occupant efficiency, and increased energy use. This problem is most acute in perimeter zones, which are highly valued, because of the high level of visual comfort, but also are strongly influenced by the external environment. While many envelope solutions have been proposed, little consideration has been given to innovative energy-efficient conditioning systems for perimeter zones. This research seeks to determine the requirements for conditioning systems in perimeter zones.

A pragmatic review of the conditioning characteristics of perimeter zones and their existing conditioning systems in Australian office buildings is discussed. The excessive application of glazing alongside intense and constantly changing solar gains are the main contributing factors to the difficulties in providing thermal comfort in perimeter zones. An evaluation of three commonly used conditioning systems namely, Variable Air Volume (VAV), Under Floor Air Distribution (UFAD), and Chilled Beam (CB), is considered alongside the newly proposed capillary radiant systems. Criteria such as energy consumption, thermal comfort, control–response, and other operational aspects of the four systems, are investigated and evaluated revealing their strengths and limitations. Considering the comparison among various conditioning systems, several parameters are identified, being: 1) capability to achieve comfort, 2) energy efficiency, 3) fast response time, 4) ease of installation and aesthetics, and 5) effective cooling capacity. Empirical testing of the proposed responsive radiant conditioning system is indicated as the next research step, with preliminary testing outcomes also provided.

Keywords: thermal comfort; radiant conditioning system; energy efficiency; perimeter zones.


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