Hydronic Heating and Cooling Addresses Glass Building HVAC Challenges

July 23, 2015 By Karen Henry

glass office bldg Energy ManageThe use of flat glass for construction is on the rise as more architects and developers opt to design buildings with glass exteriors, according to the Global Flat Glass Report 2015–2019. To achieve sustainability and occupant comfort without compromising design, more designers are seeking energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to offset some of the negative impacts that can stem from glass building construction. Specifically, they are incorporating low-temperature hydronic heating and cooling systems, according to Indoor Climate Control in Glass Buildings, a new white paper released by Jaga Climate Systems.

Glass windows can result in condensation, cold zones, poor insulation and significant temperature fluctuations depending on the time of day and the weather. Low-mass hydronic systems have lower water content than traditional radiators, allowing them to respond more quickly to temperature changes, which improves occupant comfort and reduces energy costs.

Low-water solutions are also a safer choice compared to hot panel radiators near windows because during a cold winter day, traditional radiators generate a lot of thermal stress on the glazing. In these periods, the glass becomes brittle and can easily crack.

Conversely, on a warm day, low-water systems can quickly reduce output during times when the building is able to take advantage of the natural solar and internal loads. Studies have shown that sunlight that suddenly enters a building through double glazing can add more than 3400 BTU/hr per 11 square feet of glass to a room.

Low temperature hydronic heating and cooling technology is ideally powered by renewable energy sources such as geothermal or solar.

Photo via Shutterstock.

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