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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effect of acoustical clouds coverage and air movement on radiant chilled ceiling cooling capacity


Thermally activated building systems have the potential to achieve significant energy savings, yet, the exposed concrete may also create acoustical challenges due to the high reflectivity of the hard surface. Free-hanging acoustical clouds reduce the acoustical issues, but also the cooling capacity of a radiant chilled ceiling system. Fan-induced air movement can be used to compensate for the cooling capacity reduction. We experimentally assess the combined effect of acoustical clouds and fans on the cooling capacity for an office room. We installed a ceiling fan between the clouds (blowing in the upward or downward direction) and small fans above the clouds (blowing horizontally) at the ceiling level to increase the convective heat transfer along the cooled ceiling. We tested the different fan configurations against a reference case with no elevated air movement. The tests conducted without fans showed that cooling capacity decreased, but only by 11%, when acoustical cloud coverage was increased to 47%, representing acceptable sound absorption. The ceiling fan increased cooling capacity by up to 22% when blowing upward and up to 12% when blowing downward compared to the reference case over the different cloud coverage ratios. For the variants with small fans, cooling capacity increases with coverage, up to a maximum increase of 26%. This experiment proves that combining fans with acoustical absorbents close to the radiant surface increases cooling capacity while simultaneously providing improved acoustical quality, and quantifies the impact.

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