A new refrigerated panel system that can replace air conditioning may also help reduce the risk of disease transmission indoors, suggests new analysis from the University of British Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania and the United States. Princeton University.
Researchers calculated the air conditioning needs in 60 of the world’s most populous cities – with the additional ventilation required due to COVID-19. Then they compared the energy costs with their cooling method, using refrigerated panels and natural ventilation.
The results, published in the COVID-19 edition of Applied energy, has shown that the alternative solution saves up to 45% of the energy required, while ensuring that the occupants of the building are comfortable and that the rooms are sufficiently cooled.
Dr Adam Rysanek, professor at UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and co-author of the article, notes that many public health guidelines, as well as industry organizations in the building, recommend increasing the flow of fresh outdoor air in buildings. to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.
“However, if we continue to rely on conventional HVAC systems to increase indoor fresh air rates, we could actually double energy use.
“Alternatively, we can encourage people to install new types of radiant cooling systems, which allow them to keep their windows open even when it is hot outside. These alternative systems can provide a sufficient level of thermal comfort. , increase protection against disease while reducing impact on the environment, ”said Rysanek, director of the Building Decisions Research Group in the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of British Columbia.
Rysanek and his colleagues have previously demonstrated their cooling system in Singapore’s hot and humid climate. They built a public pavilion with a system of refrigerated tubes enclosed in an anti-condensation membrane. This allowed the occupants to feel comfortable, and even cold, without changing the temperature of the air surrounding the human body.
“You can think of it as a lean air conditioner – or, better yet, a green alternative to gas-guzzling air conditioning,” Rysanek said.
Toronto is one of the cities included in the latest analysis, as are Beijing, Miami, Mumbai, New York, and Paris. In all of these regions, peak summer temperatures can exceed 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
“A major impact of climate change is the accelerated increase in average and maximum temperatures, especially in urban areas. We expect the appetite for indoor cooling to intensify in the years to come. Yet if we are to mitigate urban heat and ensure people are healthy and comfortable while reducing our energy consumption, we must seriously consider revolutionizing our historical approach to air conditioning, ”adds Rysanek.
Rysanek notes that while refrigerated panel systems have been around for decades, the addition of the special membrane designed by the research team could be the key to making them a commercially viable alternative to traditional HVAC systems in any climate.
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Material provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Content can be changed for style and length.