Charting the growth of chilled ceilings and beams10 years ago, the market for chilled ceilings and beams was very much smaller than it is today — and the market will continue to grow, according to Saziye Dickson.The market for chilled ceilings and beams has come a long way in the last decade. BSRIA’s 1998 study on chilled ceilings and beams reported the total market value as £8.4 million — excluding multi-service chilled beams and chilled slabs. By 2007, the market for chilled ceilings, beams and slabs had nearly doubled in value in 2007, according to a BSRIA’s recent report from BSRIA.*
• Public address and controls cabling, 90%..
• Control valves, 80%..
• Sprinklers, 65%..
• Sensors, 45%. • Security systems, 30%..
• Heating (4-pipe systems), 4%. The main perceived advantages of using MSCBs are a single point of production and reduced delivery and installation times. These benefits together lead to less uncertainty in the programme and a reduction in site costs such as accommodation, logistics, storage, labour, material wastage, project duration and site project management. MSCBs offer comfort cooling for occupants rather than equipment cooling. The optimum comfort is achieved by combination of temperature control, humidity control and good air flow in the occupied zone. Passive MSCBs provide, on average, around 200 W of cooling per linear metre, while active beams provide 300 to 400 W per linear metre. Energy efficiency Moreover, MSCBs also work on higher water temperatures than conventional air-conditioning systems. For example, chilled beams run at an elevated water flow temperature of 14 to 15°C compared with 8 to 9°C for VAV systems. These high flow temperatures enable the chilled-water circuit to run in free-cooling mode when external ambient temperatures allow, reducing the need for mechanical refrigeration and leading to improved energy efficiency. The closest alternative to chilled ceilings/beams is fan-coil systems, and this market has been declining due to demand for more energy-efficient cooling technology. The market for fan coils has lost market share to VRF systems and chilled ceilings/beams. Competition from chilled beams has pushed the leading manufacturers of fan coils to invest in more energy-efficient products such as DC motors with electronically commutated (EC) fans. They are also trying to reduce energy usage and carbon footprint by raising the chilled water from 6 to 8ºC. A drawback of chilled ceilings/beams is that they are not an off-the-shelf solution like fan coils and VAV boxes. Office layouts and customer requirements vary greatly in the UK, so a chilled-ceiling or beam system usually requires customising to suit client needs, particularly in terms of the preferred suspended-ceiling system. MSCBs are often custom-made. Most chilled-beam systems will benefit from a laboratory mock-up of a typical installation†, so that the cooling output, airflows and comfort criteria can be tested before the job gets to site. Cooling capacities of chilled ceiling and beam products can be limited, and they may not be suitable for buildings with high cooling needs and high solar gains — particularly buildings with a high glazed ratio. Such buildings like may need additional cooling around the office perimeter, which can sometimes be satisfied by passive chilled beams (those without an air supply). Cost analysis