Monodraught delivers cost effective cooling and ventilation solution for university problem space

Monodraught, phase change cooling, renewable energy
Persistently high temperatures and chronic under-ventilation in this teaching room at Sheffield Hallam University have been solved using Monodraught’s Cool-Phase system.

Overheating and under-ventilation problems for a ‘problem room’ at Sheffield Hallam University have been solved using a solution that proved cheaper to install and much cheaper to operate than direct-expansion cooling and mechanical ventilation. Monodraught’s Cool-Phase system achieved a peak room temperature of 23°C during the warm spell in late March 2012 with an outside temperature of 21°C. That compares with a consistent 25°C during November when outdoor temperatures were reaching only 5°C.

The problem room is on the 10th floor of the 12-storey building on the university’s City Campus. The building dates from the early 1960s, and the 90-person teaching room suffered persistently poor air quality and high temperatures. There was no mechanical ventilation and windows on just one side that could only be opened to 100 mm, limiting the amount of natural ventilation.

Environmental checks initiated in November 2009 by the university’s estates department indicated CO2 levels of over 2000 ppm — that being the limit of the sensors used. University guidelines recommend a maximum CO2 level of 1000 ppm.

Building-services engineer Lee Allen explains that the building does not have its own cooling system and that an evaluation of void-mounted air-handling systems could address the air-quality problem but not the overheating without support from a separate cooling system.

He came across Cool-Phase in a magazine article and says, ‘We liked the Cool-Phase system but initially thought that being a new technology it would be too expensive. So we were pleasantly surprised when the quote was less than the combined ventilation and cooling option — and, of course, the lifecycle and running costs were considerably lower.’

It was in March 2012 that the estates department decided to install the Cool-Phase system, hoping to have an operational system for the spring and summer terms.

Monodraught was on site within three weeks, with the installation itself taking just over a week.

The effect on room temperature has already been mentioned.

CO2 levels initially appeared to peak at 1300 ppm, but this peak lasted only half-an-hour and coincided with students coming into the room in the morning and returning after the lunch break. Once the Cool-phase system had responded to this surge, CO2 levels were maintained at about 600 ppm.

The installation was carried out by a university-nominated contractor working closely with Monodraught. The contractor installed the louvres through the external wall.

The estates department has subsequently specified six more Cool-Phase systems for two retrofit projects and is talking to consultants about the feasibility of specifying Cool-Phase for a planned new-build contract.

For more information on this story, click here: July 2012, 120
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