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6/22/11

Beirut
Lebanon
22nd Jun 2011
Malaysia Chapter

A Selection of Common
HVAC Design Problems for
Hot & Humid Climate Application
by
Ir CHEN Thiam Leong DL&F.ASHRAE
FIEM, FIFireE, P.Eng, C.Eng.

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

Objective
Merely designing HVAC services to perform
basic functions is not adequate for today’s
application.
Designers need to be more innovative and
research minded to improve on energy
efficiency, environmental considerations and
sustainability.
At the same time, problems arising out of HVAC
designs and installations are common and
designers should be knowledgeable to avoid
these or fix them.

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Objective cont’d

This presentation is intended to share


knowledge on common recurring HVAC
problems and offer solutions to them.
It also serves to upgrade the knowledge of
designers and challenges them to venture
beyond the norm and discard the cut-and-paste
mentality.

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems


1) Why is chw temperature differential (∆T) traditionally designed
at 10oF? What are the implications for designing below ∆T
10oF? What are the implications for designing above ∆T 10 oF
and how much above can we go? Finally, what is the most
suitable design leaving chw temperature for comfort cooling:
Is it 42 oF, 44 oF, or other values?
2) Most standards including ASHRAE stipulates comfort cooling
Relative Humidity (RH) in the range of 50 to 60%. Should we
follow this in the equatorial/tropical climate?
3) Is there an ideal condenser water temperature design, eg
87/97 oF?
4) A 30 storey building is designed with the cooling towers on
the rooftop and chillers in the basement. During operation,
certain cooling towers are starved of water. How to
avoid/rectify such a problem?

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems


5) A 20 storey office building is designed with floor by floor Water
Cooled Packaged Units (WCPU’s) with the cooling towers
located on the 3rd floor podium. Is there anything wrong with
this design?
6) What is active façade and blue technology?
7) Is there any significance in specifying AHU doors to be of double
leaf, open outwards or inwards, with or without door closers?
8) Under what circumstances is it justified to use VRF systems?
9) Is there any check figures for hotel cooling load and night load
sizing of chillers and how to determine a feasible chiller
configuration?
10)What is the HVAC engineer’s responsibility towards global
refrigerant policy? Often we hear of a consultant being adamant
that R22 (circa 2000) chillers are unacceptable. Is he justified to
do so?

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

1) Why is chw temperature differential (∆T)


traditionally designed at 10oF ?
What are the implications for designing below
∆T 10oF?
What are the implications for designing above
∆T 10oF and how much above can we go ?
Finally, what is the most suitable design
leaving chw temperature for comfort cooling:
Is it 42oF, 44oF, or other values ?

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

1a) Why is chw temperature differential (∆T)


traditionally designed at 10oF?
• Colonial legacy since the 60’s
• 42/52oF was the standard norm in design
• Production of early coils limited to smooth
surface fins and tubes
• Design limitation now lifted with
- advancement in heat transfer technology
- advancement in manufacturing process

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

1b) What are the implications for designing


below ∆T 10oF?

• ∆T 10oF differential translates to 2.4 usgpm/RT


• ∆T 8oF translates to 3.0 usgpm/RT
• Pumping energy is directly proportional to chw
flowrates
• Chw flowrates in turn dictate pipe sizes

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

1c) What are the implications for designing


above ∆T 10oF and how much above can we
go?
• ∆T 10oF = 2.4 usgpm/RT
• ∆T 12oF = 2.0 usgpm/RT
• ∆T 14oF = 1.7 usgpm/RT
• ∆T 16oF = 1.5 usgpm/RT
• Reduction in pump sizes, cable sizes, pipe sizes
etc

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

Fundamental (Affinity) Laws


• Mass (capacity) varies directly with flow (M = k1Q)
• Pressure Drop varies with the square of the flow
(PD = k2Q2)
• Energy Consumption varies with the cube of the flow
(P = k3Q3)
This means :
A 40% reduction in flow could result in a
(1 – 0.4)3 = [(0.6)x(0.6)x(0.6)] = 0.21
or 79% reduction in power consumption !

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

Comparison of CHW pump energy for


800RT chiller

Flowrate 1920 usgpm 1200 usgpm


Pump head 110 ft 49 ft
Pump Effy 80% 80%
Motor Effy 95% 95%
Pump Power 52 kW 16 kW

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Then why not ∆T 20oF or even higher to realise


maximum advantages ?
- technological barriers related to costs
- less tolerance for inaccuracy
- striking a balance between space availability
and maintainability in coil selections
- problems of performance at partial loads
- installation skill et cetera

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

1d) What is the most suitable design leaving chw


temperature for comfort cooling : is it 42,
44oF or other values?
• Comfort cooling chw temperature design
progressed from 42/52 to 44/54oF in the early
’80s … still some stragglers.
• Early ASHRAE summer human comfort indoor
conditions stipulate 73 to 76oF at 45 to 55 % RH.
This condition dictated the need for 42oF leaving
chw to achieve the rather low RH.

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• As the comfort range for relative humidity


increased so did this leaving chw temperature.
• In practice, it is common for the maintenance
staff to stretch their chiller operation above 44oF
until there is a complaint, since every 1oF
increase in leaving chw temp will translate to an
approx 2% savings for the chiller.

Space Conditions

ASHRAE Std 55: Comfort Zone-80% Of People Are Satisfied

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

Next .. challenge for lower lvg chw temperature


to achieve higher ∆T …..
Example for a 800 RT chiller
LCHW 44oF 41oF
Power 464 kW 490 kW

Chiller 464 kW 490 kW +26 kW


CHWP 52 kW 16 kW - 36 kW
TOTAL 516 kW 506 kW - 10 kW

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems


2) Most standards including ASHRAE stipulates
comfort cooling Relative Humidity (RH) in the range
of 50 to 60%. Should we follow this in the
equatorial/tropical climate?
• Ambient conditions in equatorial regions range from
70 up to 90% RH near the seaside.
• In comparison, the ambient RH in the temperate
region is below 50%.
• Early ASHRAE Std comfort range is 70 to 78oF at 20
to 55% RH to cover the variations between the
summer and winter conditions.
• Without localising applications, early designs
specified 74 +/- 2oF at 50 +/- 5 % RH

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems


• Over the years, we gradually improved to 73 +/- 1oF
at 55 +/- 5 %RH
• No properly promoted or documented local
(equatorial region) research done to determine the
optimal comfort range for EQUATORIAL CLIMATE
REGIONS
• Appalling for designers to specify RH not
exceeding 60% for cinemas/restaurants and
resulting in the use of electric reheat to achieve
such a condition in an equatorial climate application
• Comfort conditions should be assessed together
with the prevailing ambient conditions to take into
account acclimatisation of the human body

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• In an equatorial climate region, a 50 %RH


indoor condition will likely result in complaints of
dry skin.
• A 60 to 70 %RH limit will be more appropriate.
Complaints will likely occur only when we
consistently exceed 70 %RH.
• Mouldiness of walls also sets in under this
condition.
• If and when low RH is necessary electric reheat
should be avoided. Use other means, viz
Desiccant Heat Wheel, Heat Pipe etc.

“Occupied space relative humidity shall not exceed


70% at … peak outdoor dew- point conditions...”
MS1525-2001
Safety Margin

Recommended
Thermal Discomfort by ASHRAE Microbial Growth
Standard 62.1-2007

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Indoor Relative Humidity, %

“Occupied space relative humidity shall be designed


to be limited to 70% or less at … peak outdoor dew- point
conditions...”
ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007: Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air
Quality

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

3) Is there an ideal condenser water temperature


design, eg 87/97oF?
• CDW temp is dictated by the wet bulb
temperature.
• With a 80 to 82oFwb, for practical purposes (due
to selection of heat exchangers) the leaving cdw
cannot be below 85oF.
• 87/97oF has evolved by optimising the variants
involving cooling tower, pump flowrate / hp,
chiller condenser selection, capital and running
costs.

Consequence of varying the Range and Approach


temperatures as tabulated;

Parameters: 460RT chiller, chw 44/56oF, 80oFwb,


cdw 3 usgpm/RT
CDW temp Range Approach C/T size/Penalty Chiller effy/Penalty

85/95oF 10oF 5oF BAC3560 / + 3 0.589 kW/RT / - 1.8 %

87/97oF 10oF 7oF BAC3458 /base 0.600 kW/RT / base

88/98oF 10oF 8oF BAC3400 / - 3 0.613 kW/RT / + 2.2 %

85/97oF 10oF 5oF BAC3514 / + 2 0.600 kW/RT / 0%

87/99oF 10oF 7oF BAC3424 / - 2 0.626 kW/RT / + 4.3 %

88/100oF 10oF 8oF BAC3400 / - 3 0.637 kW/RT / + 6.2 %

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An example:
cooling tower comparison

95/85/78oF 98/83/78oF 100/85/78oF


2400 gpm 1600 gpm 1600 gpm
10oF range 15oF range 15oF range
7oF approach 5oF approach 7oF approach
40 hp 40 hp 30 hp
32 kW 32 kW 24 kW

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

4) A 30 storey building is designed with the


cooling towers on the rooftop and chillers in
the basement. During operation, certain
cooling towers are starved of water. How to
avoid/rectify such a problem?
• 30 storeys translates to a static head of over
150 psi
• Rapid water equalisation between cooling
towers is req’d.
• Cooling towers sharing a common basin
eliminates such a problem but at the expense
of no redundancy.

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Cooling Towers
on roof top

30
Storey = 150 psi
Building

Chillers at basement

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Reverse piping arrangement is a solution but


problem of shallow tower basin is a reality.
- during operation, the shallow depth of the
basins combined with the water movement will
reduce the depth by a further few inches
resulting in vortexes and air being drawn into
the system.
• Use of motorised valves is a good solution.
Caution on the open water circuit which tends
to be prone to polluting particles affecting valve
performance over time.

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Cooling towers

Example of reverse return


piping for cooling towers

pumps chillers

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

5) A 20 storey office building is designed with


floor by floor Water Cooled Packaged Units
(WCPU’s) with the cooling towers located on
the 3rd floor podium.
Is there anything wrong with this design?

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WCPU per floor

20
Storey
Building 17 Flrs
above

Cooling Tower
at 3rd Flr

WCPU L20
L19
L18

U-LOOPS !

pumps Cooling towers L4


L3
L2
L1

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Appreciation of the fundamentals of physics


apply.
- Water will always find its own level.
• Logical solutions would be :
- Relocate cooling towers to the rooftop
- Install motorised valves and quick make-up
tank
- Install heat exchanger to effect a closed
circuit system

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

6) What is active façade and blue technology?


• Addressing solar gain through building
envelope is far more crucial in hot and humid
climates.
• Overall Thermal Transfer Values (OTTV)
• Roof Thermal Transfer Values (RTTV)
• In Singapore, EETV and RTTV compliances
are compulsory

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Passive façade is aimed at reducing the OTTV


(building envelope solar load) and refers to
shading afforded by :
- Horizontal or vertical shading fins
- Tinted glazing, Double glazing, Low-e glazing
- Solar blinds etc
• Active façade or Blue Technology
- Double ventilated skin
- Electrochromic glazing
- Smart glass

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Blue Technology is defined as the


understanding of the fundamental principles of
building physics applied in a manner which
enables HVAC and the façade to be designed
as an integrated, synergistic system rather
than as individual components.
- need to educate clients on fair compensation
to M&E engineer for input.
- research urgently needed for applications in
hot and humid climate

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

7) Is there any significance in specifying AHU


doors to be of double leaf, open outwards or
inwards, with or without door closers?
• Engineers tend to ask for double leaf doors to
deliver and remove AHUs?
• Architects prefer doors to swing inwards.
• Standard local regulations interpret all fire
doors require door closers.

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Double leaf doors to deliver and remove AHU?


- Staircase and lift doors : 900 to 1200 mm
width.
• Architects prefer doors to swing inwards.
- AHU room act as plenum for return air.
• Standard local regulations interpret all fire doors
require door closers.
- Practicality and durability of door closers?
- Conflict with local fire code?

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

8) Under what circumstances is it justified to use


VRF systems?
• VRFs originated in ’80s for retrofit and upgrade of
older buildings to cater for increasing pc loads.
- Old buildings had limited ceiling space for
increased duct sizes.
- Alternative to DX split/multiple fan coil system.
- Capable of reverse cycle heating.
- Flexible energy efficient operation.

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems


• Need to run refrigerant piping throughout ceiling
space – concern of toxicity of refrigerant and
leakage, ODS, GWS etc
• Need for fresh air ducting to source.
• Cumbersome localised maintenance.
• Despite hype not many wholly VRF systems
installed for high-rise buildings. Number of
mutated installations.
• Applications in low-rise shoplots and residential
type buildings with advantage of operational
flexibility abound.
• Partial load energy efficiencies more than often
over-quoted.

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

9) Is there any check figures for hotel cooling load


and night load sizing of chillers and how to
determine a feasible chiller configuration?
• 5 star hotel with 300 to 600 rooms (in Malaysia)
- peak load 2RT/room
- night load 40% of peak load
• Business/Budget class hotel
- Peak load between 0.7 to 1.0 RT/room
• Chiller combination
- Simplest is 3 chillers with 50% redundancy

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

- Check to ensure one chiller can provide


reasonable
operational efficiency for night load
- Use of single compressor type centrifugals
needs
more caution in selection
- Multi-recips offer good flex for partial load but
are less efficient
- Screws (multi or single compressor/s) offer
good efficiencies at almost all loads

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• MS 1525 stipulates that where chillers are


used and when the design load is greater than
1000kWr, a minimum of either 2 chillers or a
single multi-compressor multi-circuited chiller
shall be provided to meet the required load.

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

10) What is the HVAC engineer’s responsibility


towards global refrigerant policy? Often we
hear of a consultant being adamant that R22
(circa 2000) chillers are unacceptable. Is he
justified to do so ?

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Article V countries have generally benefitted


from the Multi-Lateral Fund (for ODS phase-
out) over the years
- as a signatory to Montreal and subsequent
Kyoto Protocols, there is obligation for Article V
countries to fulfill their commitments.

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• CFCs to be totally phased out by 2010 and


HCFCs by 2040
• USA progressed from CFCs to HCFCs to
HFCs …….. [HFOs]
• Europeans leapfrogged from CFCs to HFCs to
Natural refrigerants (H20,NH3, HC, CO2)
• Similar trends for MNCs in Article V countries

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Whether it is justified for a consultant to reject


HCFC refrigerants (circa 2000) depends on:
- type and capacity of chillers designed
- knowledge level of the consultant
- would seem ludicrous to reject R22 chillers
but accept R22 DX systems within the same
project
- refrigerant management needed for any
synthetic refrigerant used

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Most important is NO to CFCs and an awareness


that the industry is progressing by leaps and
bounds
- need to be conversant with latest developments
- no point trying to justify merely between HCFCs
and HFCs … HFOs … what about natural
refrigerants ?
- Prototype magnetic refrigeration already
proven
…so are many other non refrigerant technologies

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A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems

• Perhaps it’s time for knowledgeable


consultants to query continued use of synthetic
refrigerants to dictate the air conditioning
industry when the cost of refrigerant
constitutes merely 1 to 2% of the total
equipment costs.
• Why is 1% dictating the 99% ?

A Selection of Common HVAC Design Problems


• Finally, we should accept that CFCs were hitherto the
most efficient refrigerants mankind has invented. Prior
to ODS concern, manufacturers were most
complacent in improving energy efficiencies.
- For 50 years until ’80s, chiller efficiency only
improved from 1.0 to 0.8 kW/RT
- Then the next 20 years saw improvement to 0.5
kW/RT despite the advent of less efficient CFC free
refrigerants
- If we use today’s vastly improved chillers with CFC11,
we will probably be able to achieve 0.3 kW/RT !

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Thermal Efficiency Progression


Chiller Efficiency : kWe/RT
20 Years 10 Years

0.9
0.8
0.15
0.7
0.6 0.15
0.5
Standard
0.4
High Effy
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
1970's 1980's 1990's 2000's
51

Malaysia Chapter

the end
THANK YOU
tlchen55@gmail.com

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