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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent trends in radiant system technology in North America

  • Author(s): Talami, Ricardo
  • Karmann, Caroline
  • Bauman, Fred
  • Schiavon, Stefano
  • Raftery, Paul
  • et al.

Radiant cooling and heating systems provide an opportunity to achieve significant energy savings, peak demand reduction, load shifting, and thermal comfort improvements compared to conventional all-air systems, and as a result, application of these systems has increased in recent years. However, due to the relatively new and unfamiliar nature of radiant system technology compared to other traditional HVAC systems, there is a lack of energy, cost, and occupant satisfaction data to provide real world examples of energy efficient, affordable, and comfortable buildings using radiant systems. The overarching goal of this research is to make a first step to fill that information gap. This paper specifically (1) describes a new expanded database with over 400 buildings using radiant cooling and heating systems, (2) presents the CBE online radiant systems world map that displays all buildings from the database, and (3) summarizes the results and trends from this radiant map dataset, which focuses primarily on North America (United States and Canada). To collect the data, we used existing publications on case studies, articles from websites & architectural magazines and information provided from building professionals. Thus, the radiant map dataset is not a representative sample of all radiant buildings in North America, as by nature of the methods used to identify buildings, it is weighted towards higher profile and higher performance buildings, about which information was readily available in the public domain. Our analysis of the dataset provides the following general findings: (1) the West Coast has a larger amount of buildings compared to the East Coast, (2) the most common radiant technology is an embedded floor system in a thermal diffusion layer, (3) almost 60% of the buildings have a LEED Certification, (3) the largest number of buildings are located in ASHRAE climate zone 5, (4) the most common building category is higher education type and (5) 2013 is the year with the highest number of new radiant buildings in the dataset. This dataset is publicly available here:

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