Active chilled beams offer a
great way to provide regulated heating and cooling over a large commercial
space making it easy for business owners to run a commercial HVAC solution.
Often, active chilled beams are used in favor of passive chilled beams for a
number of reasons. And that is, with a primary air system imbued in an active
chilled beam, you ensure some important design factors. They are:
a primary air system, you are able to deliver the least required amount of
outdoor air, in the space you want to provide ventilation.
to the fact that chilled beams do not provide any condensate drainage control,
there is a need to maintain the indoor dew point so that there is no chance of
stagnant condensate. Therefore, the primary air system is used to deliver air
which is dry enough to avoid condensation from forming on the chilled beams and
causing a potential mold threat.
the chilled beam is dependent on convection, it is important that a sufficient
amount of air is delivered into the space to induce airflow to make for efficient heating
An active chilled beam system requires less
ductwork and handles smaller volumes of air
As opposed to a typical VAV system,
an active chilled system provides a lot of its space cooling from the induced
airflow, delivered mostly from the primary air system, which in turn is handled
by the central air conditioning unit. In this case, a much smaller volume of
air is delivered to the chilled beam compared to more VAV systems, allowing the
active chilled beam system to use smaller ductwork.
of any HVAC
system is susceptible to mold infestation simply due to the damp
environment presented in the ductwork. This problem is escalated given the fact
that chilled beams do not have countermeasures against condensate stagnation.
By requiring smaller ductwork, a chilled system allows for more frequent and less costly air duct cleaning runs
which make it easier to maintain and prevent unclean air from flowing around
the commercial space.
An active chilled beam system makes less noise
The beauty of an active chilled
beam system comes to form the fact that there are no fans or compressors near
the space facing unit. That is, the chilled beam itself does not contain any
noise creating components that reduce its operational noise to the bare minimum
and makes for a more comfortable space compared to more traditional variable
air volume HVAC systems which tend to have fans near the space.
What are the challenges associated with an
active chilled beam commercial HVAC solution?
For starters, as far as HVAC
installation is concerned, active chilled beam solutions have a higher
installation costs associated with them due to the fact that the capacity of
the chilled beam is lower, and therefore, more chilled beams are required to
cover a large span of area. Moreover, additional piping and control valves must
be installed for each chilled beam installation at the premises driving the
HVAC installation cost up.
Next, as mentioned earlier, there
are significant issues regarding the lack of condensation control baked into
the chilled beam. This makes it prone to draining off condensate into space it
is supposed to cool leading to an unpleasant area, however, with an active
chilled beam, this problem is mostly addressed by feeding in the air into the
system with a dew point much lower, to prevent condensation.
Finally, chilled beams are not
usually equipped with filters as you might come to expect from a commercial
HVAC solution. This means that there is no protection against dust and other
particles floating around in the air of the indoor space, and it is
recirculated back into the air after heating or cooling.
Contrasting the advantages and challenges of owning an
active chilled beam system for your commercial space is important before
investing in a commercial HVAC solution. Therefore, consult with the best AC
maintenance & repair crews before investing a lot of your cash
on the wrong system.
See the summary of the challenges here – Challenges
of Active Chilled Beam System in Commercial HVAC Solutions [Infographic]
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