Active Thermal Mass Solutions
Comfort and low energy buildings
Air is an excellent means to activate the thermal mass of a building and is a very effective way of maintaining comfortable and stable temperatures.
Air based systems are typically created by modifying structural hollowcore flooring and creating a labyrinth air path or by laying ductwork in a cast in situ floor slab constructions.
The beauty of using the incoming ventilation air through the thermal mass is that
it utilises structural components that are a necessity in the building. The major
advantage of using the ventilation air is that the fan energy used would largely
be used anyway during the occupation period, so the energy benefits have a high theoretical
The idea originated and was commercialised by a pioneering Swedish organisation who established many buildings across the world, notably in the UK, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Australia. Such systems are suitable for most types of buildings including offices, educational, utilities, libraries, theatres and residential.
The supply air passes through the hollowcores at low velocities, allowing extended contact between the air and the slabs. This enables the slabs to effectively exchange heat that release heat to, or absorb heat from, the air in the slabs.
The temperature difference, between the slab and the air that exits the slab, is small, not more than 1 and 2 degrees Celsius. Air based systems can also make good use of lower night time external temperatures in summer to flush heat from buildings when the temperature of the internal mass may have risen.
Benefits of the HVAC air based system
Low energy consumption
Reduced carbon dioxide emissions
Low environmental impact
Recovery of up to 90% of the heat from the extract air stream
Occupied spaces are free of radiators and pipes
Very quiet operation due to air at low velocities has no draughts
100% fresh, filtered air
Comfortable, stable temperatures all year
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