Chilled beams are predominantly used for cooling and ventilating spaces, where a good indoor environment and individual space control is valued. Chilled beams use water to remove heat energy from a room and are located in the room space. Chilled beams are primarily used in locations where the humidity can be controlled.
Chilled beams provide excellent thermal comfort, energy conservation and efficient use of space due to the specific heat capacity of water being so good when used as heat transfer medium (typically four times better than air). Chilled beam operation is simple and trouble free due to having minimum maintenance requirements. Chilled beams also supplement the flexible use of available space, at the same time as the high temperature cooling and low temperature heating maximizing the opportunity for free cooling and heating. Operation of the chilled beams is used where the internal humidity loads are moderate, the primary air is dehumidified and any infiltration through the building is limited and controlled.
Passive Chilled beams comprise of a heat exchanger for cooling. Traditional passive chilled beam operation is based on natural convection. As the warm room air comes in contact with the cooled surface of the chilled beam it flows downwards through the beam into the room.
Active Chilled beams are connected to both the ventilation supply air ductwork and the chilled water supply. If required, low temperature hot water (LTHW) can be used in this system for heating. The main air handling unit supplies primary air into the various rooms through the chilled beam.
The latest development in passive chilled beam technology employs both convective and radiant principles which are designed to deliver high cooling duties with minimal air movement within the occupied zone.