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FEATURE HVAC HIGH CEILINGS, LOW ENERGY


One of the challenges associated with high ceilings, particularly in commercial and


industrial premises, is regulating the internal


temperature. Here, Alan Macklin, technical


director at Elta Group and chairman of the Fan Manufacturer’s


Association, explains how the latest destratification


technology can prove an invaluable asset


M


any premises and facilities have high ceilings – from warehouses to


retail, museums to factory floors – and a common factor across all of these is an inevitable battle for thermal comfort. As hot air rises, this leads to a concentration of heat far above where it is needed. To keep rooms at a temperature


that avoids discomfort for building occupants, this can often mean heating the ceiling area to as much as 10˚C to 20˚C more than the desired floor-level temperature. So, when you consider the extra energy expenditure this requires, it is important to look for alternative, more cost-effective, means.


WHAT IS THERMAL DESTRATIFICATION? Stratification is a natural process in which layers of air, increasing in temperature, build from floor to ceiling. It is the reason that the ceiling area of a tall room is invariably warmer than the bottom. Thermal destratification mixes the internal air to prevent these layers from forming, to create a more uniform temperature across the full height of the room. By pushing hot air at the ceiling down towards ground level, this effectively circulates thermal energy to ensure the whole premises is a consistent temperature. By minimising temperature


differential to as little as 1˚C, the latest destratification fan technology can reduce annual heating costs by as much as 30%. When you consider the total cost


22 WINTER 2020 | ENERGY MANAGEMENT


of keeping large spaces at a comfortable temperature for occupants, this can amount to a significant figure.


INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE It is also true that destratification fans, such as Elta Fans’ Zoo Fans range, require a less invasive installation than traditional air movement methods. They can be fitted in a matter of minutes using a simple cable and grip method, and the self-contained design means the fan won’t interfere with existing lighting or sprinkler systems. When you consider that time is money, any installation that keeps downtime/premises closure to a minimum can be seen as a massive bonus. Thermal destratification also ensures


that heating systems as a whole suffer less wear and tear. As heat is directed to where it is needed, it allows thermostats to switch off quicker and systems to cycle off sooner, which ultimately increases the lifespan


of all HVAC equipment.


OCCUPANT WELLBEING It should be noted that there is a general increased focus on providing comfortable working environments for staff. The concerning re-emergence of Sick Building Syndrome in offices (whereby poor air quality leads to a range of health concerns) highlights the work that needs to be done towards occupant well-being; and businesses cannot ignore the health and safety of their employees. Thermal destratification is an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve this. A side-effect of improving occupant


comfort is that it can actually boost productivity in facilities such as factories and warehouses. Ensuring a more ambient temperature and eliminating hot and cold spots will enable employees to continue working for sustained periods of time, in a comfortable environment.


UP TO THE CHALLENGE Managing air circulation in premises with high ceilings results in a number of challenges, requiring the balance of potentially large energy bills with the need to achieve a comfortable, ambient temperature. By turning to the latest thermal destratification fans, it is possible to prevent spiralling running costs, while simultaneously improving occupant comfort.


Elta Fans www.eltafans.com


Managing air circulation in premises with high ceilings results in a number of challenges, requiring the balance of potentially large energy bills with the need to achieve a comfortable, ambient temperature


Left: The Zoo Fans range can be fitted in a matter of minutes using a simple cable and grip method, and the self-contained design means the fan won’t interfere with existing lighting or sprinkler systems


/ ENERGYMANAGEMENT


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