by Chiara Samorì, Journalist at INGENIO
Nowadays the issue of perfect design and management of ventilation systems in offices has become key..
The pendemic and subsequent emergency due to Covid-19, brought to the the role of HVAC systems to the center of the debate, as they are very important contributors to thermo-hygrometric comfort indoors.
Today it is essential that the systems are designed in order ro guarantee comfort and environmental health, avoiding recirculation and uncontrolled movements of the air, as much as possible.
A good system must also combine comfort and energy savings, maximum architectural freedom and increase the value of inhabited spaces.
How to choose the best system to provide for the office HVAC needs?
Radiant System: advantages of radiant ceilings and metal islands
M. Roberto Torreggiani,Giacomini boats a great experience in installing radiant systems, why are metal ceilings particularly useful in this emergency phase?
Righet now these systems are certainly the most suitable because there is a contribution from the primary air while the predominant part is entrusted to the hydronic system, therefore to the radiant floor system and in particular to radiant ceiling.
since the radiant ceiling is a static type of system, air movement is strictly necessary to ensure renewal and dehumidification, therefore the air moving indoors is reduced to the minimum.
What are the other advantages this type of system offers?
Another advantageee relates to energy usage because radiant systems operate at low temperature marrying perfectly with heat pumps and condensing boilers. It also allow to achieves greater usability of spaces and absence of noise, as silent operation mode is an important plus. The metal false ceilings allow you to create efficient air conditioning systems thanks also to their low thermal inertia. With hight response speed, they are suitable for applications in buildings with good insulation allowing to take full advantage of free energy contributions. Comfort is certainly also linked to the reduced air speed which is very pleasant to people living or working in the space. The system is a modularand can also be inspected. Moreover, this technology can be easily integrated with other systems such as those for air distribution, electrical or fire prevention systems .
Are metal islands and metal ceilings more competitive on the market than other solutions?
For sure, especially if we think in terms of return on investment (LCCA - Life Cycle Cost Assessment) because they offer lower maintenance costs and a greater energy savings. The return of investment time is reasonably short, initial costs are usually recovered within 2-3 years. Above all, in this context of health emergency, they are systems that go well with the need to guarantee an indoor comfort, air healthty air and safety.
Metal islands and balancing systems
Metal islands are new in the range, what we are talking about?
Metallic islands are a specific type of radiant ceilings that present advantages from an architectural and functional nature. For example, they are ideal for open space environments and as far as aesthetics are concerned they undoubtedly reflect modern architectural trends, they are also extremely modular, customizable and respond to the current HVAC needs. Finally, through the insertion of TNT layers, they offer a good acoustic comfort .
Giacomini's product portfolio, an all-in-one supplier, also includes balancing systems. Does the 6-way valve, ideal for the management of 4-pipe systems, helps in the design of these systems?
The whole range of balancing helps to plan and size systems in a tailored way, the role of the designer is in fact more and more to come up with "tailor made" solutions e for specific customer. Having a wide and integrated range of dedicated products helps uur stakeholders responding to this need. 4-pipe systems can operate without distinction for heating or cooling the rooms regardless of the season. The 6-way valves operating in this context have important technical requirements for the management of pressure and its balancing. The development of the 6-way valve range also increasingly points to integrated dynamic balancing. The need is to combine the flow balancing function with the management of the 4-pipe system. The role of Giacomini's research is to provide innovative solutions by anticipating future market developments .
Heating and cooling greatly affect energy consumption of office buildings. Do these solutions meet the energy performance requirements increasingly required by the designers?
Of course, in some cases they prove fundamental. In Vancouver, for example, Giacomini group contributed to the renovation and expansion of a large commercial-office complex. In that case we managed to bring together the regulatory and certification requirements with market needs, thanks to the use of cutting-edge technologies such as radiant ceiling systems for air conditioning. The challenge was to obtain the LEED Platinum certification in the "Heritage Conversion" category. Obviously a high efficiency air conditioning system such as the radiant one that has contributed to meeting the sustainability requirements for that type of certification .
How did the project unfold, from Giacomini's perspective?
A radiant ceiling system with primary air system for ventilation and dehumidification in cooling mode was chosen for the air conditioning system. The total area covered about 25,000 square meters distributed over 32 floors. The need was that for large panels, to be integrated with many devices, such as LED lamps and air grilles- That is why we came up with custom-made models. All of our products have obtained certifications in terms of yield and have also passed the tests in terms of environmental comfort, tests carried out in indipendent laboratories on the specific request of very demanding requirements by the customenrs. In addition to supplying the radiant system, Giacomini also took care of all the distribution, including manifolds, fittings, pipes and above all the hydronic management part linked to 6-way valves and dynamic balancing .