University of Findlay Applies SEMCO Chilled Beams

  • Wednesday, February 3, 2016

    SEMCO Flexicool chilled beamGeothermal is continually becoming more commonplace in HVAC design, and one of the country’s most innovative and sustainable HVAC systems at The University of Findlay’s new $11 million Davis Building offers a futuristic view into the technology.

    The award-winning science facility consisting of labs, classrooms, and offices is drawing critical claim from the HVAC industry for its exceptional energy savings. Versus a conventional HVAC system, the HVAC system is saving 57-percent more energy, which translates annually into a $59,000 energy savings and $7,500 in reduced maintenance. Its energy use index (EUI) is only 64 kBtu/ft2.

    The Davis Building’s design secret is the supplemental cutting-edge technology added by consulting engineer, Stephen Hamstra, P.E., LEED AP, president, Greensleeves LLC, Findlay, and RCM Architects, Findlay

    Instead of a conventional approach of heat pumps or unitary air handlers, for example, the 42,000-square-foot Davis Building’s geothermal system supplies 58°F to 62°F closed circuit ground source water to ceiling-mounted, active chilled beams by SEMCO LLC, Columbia, Mo., for handling 70 to 80-percent of the sensible load. Chilled beams reduce fan energy by up to 50-percent versus conventional air handling technologies. Each chilled beam requires only 100 to 125-cfms from the project’s 19,000-cfm dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) to prevent condensation.

    Indoor Air Comfort

    Hamstra specified 49 SEMCO Flexicool IQIC active chilled beams in four, six, and eight-foot lengths. As the ceiling-mounted chilled beams quietly cool air around their coils, the cooler air sinks while warmer air rises in a perpetual room air-mixing scenario superior in air comfort and energy efficiency compared to fan coils, variable air volume (VAV) and other forced air methods.

    Installed by mechanical contractor, Jack’s Heating A/C & Plumbing, Findlay, the chilled beams have adjustable slots (nozzles) to address specific areas in its airflow range. The balance of air and water temperatures are all controlled by the Niagara platform building automation system (BAS) manufactured by Tridium, Richmond, Va. Hamstra also supplied each chilled beam room with a localized hot water reheat coil, manufactured by Trane, Tyler, Texas. “We reset the DOAS discharge temperatures based on what most zones are calling for,” Hamstra explained. “The localized reheat coils can provide a more precise temperature required in that particular zone.”

    The outdoor air supplied through the active chilled beams also prevents potential floor condensation from the radiant system.

    Read the full story: Mechanical Hub.
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