Why a total solution is best
Modern buildings are required to be lighter on both capital and running costs, to have a lower carbon footprint, and at the same time enhance occupier comfort and productivity. The best way to achieve these objectives may not be in adopting one single technology or solution, but a mixture of these. Both the EPB and EUP Directives seem to encourage this approach.
Energy Performance of Buildings Directive
The EPB Directive, which was published in January 2003 and is being phased in between April 2007 and January 2009, has far-reaching implications for the owners, operators and developers of all buildings in Europe (both domestic and non-domestic). The overall objective of EPBD is to: “Promote the improvement of energy performance of buildings within the community, taking into account outdoor climatic and local conditions, as well as indoor climate requirements and cost-effectiveness.” More information can be found at www.diag.org.uk.
The first date of significance for the commercial sector is 6 April 2008, when an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be required for the construction of all buildings over 10,000m².
Energy Use Products Directive
The EUP Directive provides a framework for setting eco design requirements for energy using products. Its aim is to provide EU-wide rules for eco-design and ensure that disparities among national regulations do not become obstacles for intra-EU trade. This Directive covers the full product cycle, including production.
The EUP Directive focuses on the performance of a system, rather than isolated components. A consequence of this is the further integration of power distribution, HVAC, and production systems. Currently, these are typically separate systems, often from different vendors. Collecting energy use will be much easier if systems are integrated. More information can be found at www.dti.gov.uk.
As EUP looks at the full product cycle, this includes its manufacture and the energy consumed in this process. This element of the Directive presents a strong case for UK manufacturing to minimise the energy produced in product transportation.
Meeting the Directives
In order to meet these Directives, designers need to address energy consumption from the very early stages of a building’s conception. In turn, manufacturers should be encouraged to offer a solutions-based approach to the design of the building’s services. Colt’s products and services aim to provide complementary technologies to achieve the highest level of internal comfort control conditions with user flexibility. Colt offers a bespoke range of natural ventilation, WRF air conditioning and solar shading systems. Since the bulk of these are manufactured in the UK, this is in accord with the spirit of the EUP. These three product ranges can be integrated to optimise energy efficiency and occupant comfort.
Natural ventilation provides the ultimate solution to complying with the EPBD, as it harnesses the freely available elements of wind and heat to move air through a building, improving indoor air quality, often at a fraction of the capital, space and running costs required for a mechanical air-conditioning system.
We all recognise that people work better when they have an outside view and controlled natural daylight conditions.
To assist in EPBD compliance, a key objective for most building designers is to utilise natural rather than artificial light in order to reduce cooling loads, while minimising the associated problems of glare or excessive solar heat gain.
At the University library in Portsmouth, Colt provided a combination of natural ventilation and solar shading for the three-storey extension, which was added to the original 1970’s building to accommodate growing student numbers. Designed by Architects Penoyre & Prasad, the extension provides a welcoming environment for teaching and study, incorporating Colt’s systems to reduce energy usage and environmental impact.
This building has achieved a ‘very good’ BREEAM rating, relying upon orientation, façade treatment and extensive roof lighting to maximise day lighting whilst minimising solar heat gain and glare.
On the southern façade, Colt provided a series of oval shaped Solarfin shading systems formed into triangular modules, adjacent to the windows. Electronically controllable Coltlite natural ventilation dampers situated at low level behind opening timber panels on the façade are combined with Coltlite natural ventilators at high level to provide background ventilation and secure night-time cooling. These dampers and ventilators circulate air from the quiet reading areas towards the atrium at high level. Some mechanical assistance in the form of low-pressure fans is required to achieve the desired comfort and energy efficiency levels. The high level ventilators also provide exhaust of smoke in the case of a fire.
While natural ventilation and solar shading are both economical and energy efficient means of providing control of the internal climate, in many cases some form of additional air conditioning system is required. As this may account for a significant proportion of a building’s total energy consumption, it is extremely important that the most energy-efficient option is chosen.
WRF (water and refrigerant flow) is a world leading technology that combines all the advantages of VRF and heat pump technologies, within a safe, highly efficient water-based system. As the EPBD explains, air-conditioning systems consume a considerable amount of a building’s total energy. It is forecast that use of this equipment will double by 2020, so measures must be taken to ensure the efficiency of air-conditioning systems.
Caloris, Colt’s WRF system, is a versatile product, designed to comply with a total solutions approach to energy efficiency. It can make use of the building’s thermal mass, water reservoir or ground source installation as a heat sink for both heating and cooling. Very few other systems can provide so many features as a complete solution.
In addition to assisting in meeting the EUP and EPB Directives, Colt Caloris favourably avoids the F-Gas Regulation as all Caloris WRF units contain less than 3kgs of refrigerant charge.
At Technocircle, a futuristic office building in Heerlen, Holland, Colt provided an integrated natural ventilation and smoke control system, supplemented by a Colt Caloris system supplying both heating and cooling, offering individual zone control for each section of the building.
Each of Colt’s climate control systems can be applied individually or collectively depending on the building design, building orientation and the occupier’s requirements.
Both the EPBD and EUP Directives have been driven by the Kyoto Treaty, and as a sector, Building Services Engineering (BSE) needs to play an active part in reducing carbon emissions. BSE-related products and services produce a huge amount of carbon emissions and if the guidelines set by these Directives are adhered to, 20% of the total EU Kyoto commitment could be met. Colt is committed to providing a range of products and services which enable the adoption of an integrated design approach which will help meet these targets, by promoting climate control, not climate change – isn’t it time you did the same?.