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Radical Advances in HVAC

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Some of the major advanced technologies in HVAC we have already seen are passive dehumidification that works by using a system of three evaporator coils and heat recovery system where the heat from the warm air-conditioning refrigerant is utilized to heat water. In addition, sophisticated zoning system have been developed which include placing several zoning units in the ducts and vents with dampers and a thermostat. The user programs the desired temperature into the control panel and the system opens and closes the dampers as necessary, saving energy. The highly developed home automation systems too now add to increases energy efficiency and indoor comfort by controlling the “Energy Triangle,” which is the HVAC system, artificial and natural lighting and other systems.

Increasingly being considered as a serious alternative to conventional ceiling-based air distribution systems is the underfloor air distribution (UFAD) because of its significant energy savings, improved thermal comfort & indoor air quality. The technology uses the open space (under floor plenum) between the structural concrete slab and the underside of a raised access floor system to deliver conditioned air directly into the occupied zone of the building. Air can be delivered through a variety of supply outlets located at floor level or as part of the furniture and partitions which are in close proximity to the building occupants, as compared to a conventional overhead system. Air is returned from the room at ceiling level (un-ducted plenum return is shown). This produces an overall floor-to-ceiling air flow pattern that takes advantage of the natural buoyancy produced by heat sources in the office and more efficiently removes heat loads and contaminants from the space, particularly for cooling applications.

The Innovations

As the HVAC segment across the globe continues to adopt newer technologies aimed at reducing energy use & increasing thermal comfort, some new and more innovative air-conditioning technologies are being developed and tested that promise to drastically improve the HVAC systems.

GeoColumn system

Delaware-based GeoEnergy Enterprises has invented a new self-contained HVAC system called the GeoSource that combines the benefits of direct-exchange ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps. The unit called GeoColumn system is a self-contained ground source heat pump that does not require ground water, water pumping or anti-freeze agents to function and can be installed in a relatively small space. The sealed 28 inches diameter vessel contains coils of copper tubing submerged in ordinary, unconditioned water as a gas heat exchange medium and is buried in a borehole 23 feet deep. As per GeoEnergy Enterprises President Tony Penachio, “The hybrid HVAC system can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels as well as the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere.”

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