Active Thermal Mass Solutions
The power of water cooling
An alternative to air based systems is the use of embedded water pipes within the concrete mass.
Pipes can be embedded close to the lower surface of an exposed ceiling which can prove highly effective in changing or maintaining the temperature of the soffit. The design of the water pipe system is critical and includes the pipe diameter, layout and position in the mass. Soffits can be flat which is the standard offering or coffered which gives greater heating or cooling due to the increased surface area.
The pipes can be made from polybutylene and have a 5 layer construction where the layers are: polybutylene, adhesive, evoh, adhesive and polybutylene. The pipe material has been in use for many years in the underfloor heating market and has demonstrated remarkable reliability. Pipe manufacturers offer warranties of at least 25 years.
The ventilation air is provided separately and can be achieved by either natural ventilation techniques or by mechanical ventilation.
Water based systems offer higher cooling potential owing to the increased mass of
water in the distribution pipes. However, the pumps used to circulate the water use
more energy pro-
Pipes can be embedded close to the lower surface of an exposed ceiling which can provide highly effective in changing or maintaining the temperature of the soffit.
Benefits of the water based system
Low carbon emissions
Low running costs
Silent in operation
Helps alleviates sick building syndrome.
Not adversely affected by open windows or natural ventilation
No draughts and minimal air movement
Ideal for use alongside renewable's
There are a number of examples of water based buildings in the UK which have been shown to offer exemplary comfort conditioning. The pictures show exposed coffered pre cast soffits with high surface area giving powerful heating and cooling potential.
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