With the built environment contributing 40% of the UK’s total carbon footprint and the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warning of the dangers of overheating buildings, a new whitepaper is highlighting the importance of sustainable HVAC systems to construction professionals.
The new whitepaper, from polymer specialists REHAU, identifies issues around building overheating, air quality and sustainability, and the need to decarbonise new and existing buildings to meet net zero targets. Citing UK Green Building Council findings that heating and cooling is responsible for large quantities of buildings’ ‘in use’ emissions, it explores the impact of sustainable HVAC systems on construction.
Following CCC warnings that not adapting the built environment to changing climates could pose major risks to occupant health from overheating, the whitepaper looks into thermally activated building structures (TABS) technology’s role in resolving this. A means of space heating and cooling, TABS uses pipework embedded within a building’s concrete structure, running either an elevated chilled water temperature for cooling requirements, or low-temperature hot water for the premises’ heating needs.
“TABS is growing in popularity because they are economical and efficient, yielding up to a 47% reduction in annual energy costs when compared to traditional HVAC systems,” says Franz Huelle, Head of Technical at REHAU Building Solutions. “This is because whether for heating or cooling requirements, water flows of different temperatures influence the temperature of the building’s concrete structure.
“By opting for such a system, specifiers eliminate the need to regulate temperatures in individual rooms with their own specific load requirements. Instead, the pipework allows the building’s mass and thermal dynamic behaviour to be used to maintain comfortable conditions, almost like a living organism.”