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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Influence of raised floor on zone design cooling load in commercial buildings.


The installation of a raised floor system can change the thermal behaviour of the building by reducing the interaction between the heat gains and the thermally massive concrete slab. In this study, the influence of the raised floor on the summer design day zone cooling load profile is evaluated for an office building located in San Francisco by using the whole-building energy simulation program, EnergyPlus. The zone cooling load profiles and the thermal performance with and without the raised floor are compared and analyzed. The effects of structure type, windowto- wall ratio and the presence of carpet on the thermal behaviour of the raised floor are also investigated. The results show that the mere presence of the raised floor largely affects the zone cooling load profile and the peak cooling load over the range of -7% to + 40%. The most significant parameters are the zone orientation, i.e. the exposure to direct solar radiation, and the presence of floor carpeting. If carpeting is present, commonly used in U.S. office buildings, the overall impact on zone peak cooling load is reduced, ranging from 0 to 5% greater for the raised floor than without it. Without carpet the peak cooling load is 4% greater with raised floor than without it in the north zone, 22% in the east and west zones, and 12% in the south zone.

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