Radiant cooling system

Everything you need to know about the radiant cooling system

According to statistics, 40-50% of the building’s operational energy is consumed by HVAC systems. Over time, people have been trying to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of these systems. 

Traditionally, ACs have been widely adopted, however they produce uneven cooling. They can also lead to poor air quality by releasing airborne contamination. To overcome the problems caused by traditional cooling systems, architects and engineers look forward to the radiant cooling system as a solution. A well-designed radiant system is proven to offer effective cooling in most climates. Since it can significantly improve the air quality, they can be used in hospitals where good air quality is of utmost priority.

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The radiant cooling system being laid out on the floor

What is a radiant cooling system?

The radiant cooling system uses polymer pipes or coils installed within the walls, floors, and ceiling. The coils are circulated with chilled water to cool down the surfaces by evenly absorbing heat from them. The system is generally integrated with a heating system and installed in sealed spaces for the best results.

  • Cooling is evenly distributed and hotspots are eliminated
  • The temperature of each room can be adjusted individually
  • Coils can be installed under walls, ceiling, and floor as per the requirementsD:\Pillarplus\Blogs\Radiant cooling system\radiant-system.jpg

Working of radiant cooling system

Working principle: 

The traditional cooling system cools by the process of convection whereas the radiant system transfers energy via radiation. Radiant cooling works on the principle that bodies with temperature differences exchange thermal radiations until equilibrium is achieved. Radiant cooling systems are combined with a large thermal mass which radiates as well as absorbs simultaneously. 

Benefits:

  • Energy-saving due to lower transport energy usage, efficient operating modes, and lower transmission losses
  • Maintains thermal comfort by adjusting the indoor air temperature and relative humidity
  • Components like ductwork, diffusers, grilles, air handlers, etc. are smaller in size
  • Do not cause noise due to air movement
  • Reduces operational and maintenance costs
  • Efficient control over ventilation by allowing the required amount of outside air
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It can easily be molded in the required shape

Demerits:

  • In case of leakage or blocked coils, the supply of chilled water will be disrupted
  • Efficiency is reduced in rooms that are not tightly sealed
  • Condensate formation on surfaces results in mold formation
  • Difficult to maintain a temperature below 23 degree Celsius
  • Requires skills maintenance staff for controlling
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The radiant cooling system can be integrated with a ventilation system to control humidity levels

Types of Radiant Cooling systems:

  • Chilled floor/ceiling/wall: They induce air movement by the method of radiant and convective heat transfer. It lacks control over the humidity of the room and therefore should be integrated with a ventilation system.
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Radiant cooling system installation detail

  • Active chilled beam: The system uses a ventilation air duct passing through the chilled beam to cool the space. The ventilation air needs to be dehumidified upstream to prevent condensation at the chilled beam.
  • Passive chilled beam: A radiator system is formed by surrounding a coiled pipe around the passive beam. The system is often combined with an under-floor air distribution system. The system should be paired with a ventilation system to maintain the moisture content in the room.
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Chilled beam cooling system

The radiant cooling system is getting more and more popular with time. Though it has some limitations, yet they can be easily overcome by pairing it with other technologies. Advancement in design, high-efficiency, and sustainability are some of the factors which make a radiant cooling system better than its alternatives.

MEP in green buildings

Role of MEP in achieving green buildings standards

The sustainable design concept is taking over the construction industry with more and more people inclining towards green buildings. Owing to the increasing demands, service providers are also encouraged to come up with new ideas every day to contribute to the cause. MEP being a major energy consumer in a building can help in achieving eco-friendly and energy-efficient results if used judiciously. With due course of time, mechanical, electrical and plumbing services have evolved to meet the need of the users by offering sustainable solutions.

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How is MEP related to sustainability?

Rather than being an add-on to the original design of the building, sustainability is now an integral part of it. So are the MEP services. MEP planning decides the working of the building and how much energy will it consumed. Therefore, in order to achieve green building accreditations, MEP services should be handled with great care. Efficient MEP planning will reduce the installation, operational as well as maintenance cost. Consequently, it will save time and money whilst reducing the carbon footprint of the building.

A sustainable MEP design should:

  • Use eco-friendly devices and fixtures
  • Minimize dependence on non-renewable energy resources
  • Maintain good indoor air quality
  • Reduce operational and maintenance cost
  • Follow 3Rs motto of Reduce, reuse, and recycle

How can MEP contribute towards a sustainable building?

Reducing water consumption: Installing proper fixtures, flushes, and wastewater treatment plants can optimize water usage throughout the building. A rainwater collection system can further reduce dependence on groundwater for satisfying building needs.

Reducing energy consumption by HVAC and light systems: Approx. 25% and 32% of energy in a commercial building are taken up by lighting and HVAC systems respectively. Employing efficient HVAC and lighting systems can adjust to optimize natural ventilation and light intake. It will balance the indoor air quality to maintain a comfortable environment for the occupants.

Reducing electricity consumption: Efficient MEP systems use energy-efficient devices and fixtures to reduce the load on the electrical supply. Not only does it optimizes their use but also improves their life-span. Solar panels can be used instead of

Reducing carbon emission: The carbon footprint of a building can be reduced significantly by using effective MEP planning.

Integration of technology with MEP

Modern MEP services are compatible with the latest technologies which result in cost-efficient and energy-efficient solutions

Efficient heating system: It reduces heat losses and maintains adequate airflow throughout the indoor spaces. It maximizes the use of natural resources as heat sources rather than depending completely on electricity. The system also uses heat from machines and human activities.

Sensor systems: They regulate and monitor energy consumption by HVAC and other devices. They automate the process of analysis and collection of data, thereby giving a real-time operational overview of the building’s services. It further equips the user with information regarding the ongoing trends and insights to avoid disruptions and improve with time.
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Sensor system ensures energy saving by continuous tracking and collection of data

Smart Air conditioners: They can adjust the temperature of the indoors according to the outdoor weather and climate. Sensors detect the room occupancy and the temperature is changed to maintain comfort whereas, in case of no occupancy, AC is turned off automatically.

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A smart air conditioning system regulates the thermostat by collecting the room temperature data 

Solar energy collectors:  Solar energy collectors can be integrated with thermostats and boilers to consume renewable energy resources.  

Conclusion

Sustainable MEP design can increase the lifespan of the building while enhancing the occupant’s health. It reduces cost, energy consumption and time spend on maintenance.   The integration of optimal MEP planning in the building will help in achieving efficiency standards and green building accreditation, consequently improving building performance.

At Pillarplus, we incorporate sustainable MEP solutions to achieve green building standards in all our projects. We continuously evolve our skills and technology to cater to the changing needs of our clients. Contact us at contact@pillarplus.com to know more.