It goes without saying that over recent years we have been changing the way we consume energy within our homes and places of work. There have been changes in the way that our buildings are heated and cooled as we move away from traditional methods and use both, renewables and heat recovery to help us to reach our targets for CO2 reductions.
The latest generation of small duct high velocity air conditioning (sdHVAC) systems are capable of delivering constant, comfortable heating and cooling solutions to today’s living and working environments, whilst maximising the potential of renewable energy.
These types of systems have major advantages over traditional air conditioning and heating systems. The latest European designed and manufactured sdHVAC systems have a strong emphasis on even higher energy efficient performance, offer zoning capabilities for closer control over specific areas of a building, incorporate highly aesthetic control panels and use industry leading technologies.
While conventional forced-air central air systems rely on large ducts to deliver conditioned air to individual rooms, the small duct high-velocity systems use flexible “mini ducts” that can snake throughout a building’s structure much like electrical wiring. In existing buildings this can be run between studs in walls, through cupboards, in the small spaces below floors and in ceiling voids.
The result is a full climate control heating and cooling system which cannot be seen, heard or felt. Small duct systems also circulate the air much more effectively than traditional heating or cooling systems, providing indoor comfort through even temperature levels with minimal variation and no cold spots. Quick response times compared with radiators or underfloor heating, minimal drafts, air filtration capability, low noise levels and highly energy efficient operation are further advantages.
sdHVAC systems also have the added benefit of providing heating, cooling and the option of fresh air all through the same system for full climate control including the removal of humidity.
Compatibility with virtually any energy source, including ground and air source heat pumps and biomass, to take advantage of renewable energy sources is a significant benefit. For installations where the cooling of a space is the only requirement, they can tie in with a refrigerant drive condensing unit that creates a cold refrigerant charge and therefore air conditioning. They can be linked to VRF (variable refrigerant flow) and VRV (variable refrigerant volume) air conditioning systems to allow for variable temperatures in different parts of a building at different times of the day.
Today’s small duct systems typically feature powerful 3-25kW TBC units powered by the latest energy efficient EC fan motors which reduce energy consumption by around 30-50% compared with AC fans.
For versatility and ease of installation, units can be mounted both vertically and horizontally. The latest cooling coils provide high sensible cooling loads due to new innovative coil design and materials.
Small duct systems take up around just 1/4 of the space of a traditional heating or air conditioning system and can deliver up to 25kW TBC of heating and cooling in the same space as a traditional 10kW system.
Quiet performance in the home or office is essential and with these systems, this is achieved through the isolation of noise and vibration thanks to high performance closed-cell insulation to the air handling unit itself. Supply tubes are lined with sound-dampening, spun-bond nylon to deliver draft-free heating and cooling.
Heated or cooled air is delivered quietly and unobtrusively into rooms through discreet outlets or small slotted diffusers – almost invisible in fact and a major step forward from traditional unsightly large square grilles or radiators that fill up wall space.
Too often in the past the heating and air conditioning service to a residential or commercial building has been an afterthought. Rule-of-thumb techniques have been employed that inevitably mean less comfort for the occupiers and less energy efficiency. The versatility of the latest small duct systems mean that they provide a real environmentally friendly solution that helps to meet the requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations and achieves a lower carbon footprint. They can now also be linked to the latest smart home automation and BEMS systems to provide a fully integrated solution.