High performance glass units can offer superior thermal resistance and give you outstanding ultraviolet light control. This is very important because it reduces energy use, improves comfort, and reduces the need for a bigger HVAC system. Most homes today are faced with the problem of having to install large HVAC systems so that their homes can be cooled and heated efficiently. Few of them have thought about high performance glazings because of the one reason of cost.
The payback period for high-performance glazings is longer and this turns off short-term oriented consumers. Being an all-air system, these glazings have an infrastructure cost which means a certain amount of equipment is to be installed and servicing arrangements have to be made. Also, just like in any air conditioning system, homeowners need to change the filters, bearings and maintain the fans for each of the terminal devices.
Over the past 20 years, HVAC engineers have been using radiant cooling and heating to produce superior indoor comfort with minimal energy and operating costs. The key to the functioning of these systems is to decouple the heating and cooling functions from the ventilation function using hydronic-based radiant heating and cooling system.
The advantage with this approach is, cooling and heating, takes much lesser energy, equipment, and space to transport water around the home or commercial building compared to air. Also, with radiant heating and cooling, the air handling system provides 100% outdoor air for ventilation at a rate of about 20 to 50 cfm per person. This ensures good indoor air quality.
The use of high-performance glazings allows sufficient daylight in to reduce lighting loads and to eliminate exterior and interior thermal zones. Compared to conventional glass units, high-performance glass ensures the perimeter areas don’t experience the transient cooling and heating loads.
Radiant Heating and Cooling System Design
A typical radiant cooling and heating system starts with a high-performance glazing system that is carefully integrated with exterior shades and light shelves. Thereafter, plastic hydronic piping is cast into the concrete floor slabs which are then used as the finished ceiling complete with suspended indirect lighting.
A radiant heating and cooling system allows a displaced ventilation system which utilizes less air circulation rates to be used. More to this, you can open your windows without disrupting the pattern.
A radiant system requires no refrigeration plant in order to generate low temperature water. All that is needed is a cooling tower which operates at night. The slab temperature is regulated by varying the water temperature in the tubes. Depending on the intended capacity and the expected building loads, the tubing density can be adjusted.
The capital cost and operating savings of a radiant heating and cooling system are enormous. Up to 70% lesser energy is used compared to the best performing all-air systems. You will also enjoy reduced maintenance costs which significantly lower your HVAC budget.