Controlling Temperature and Curbing Energy Costs with HVLS Fans, Fabric Curtain Walls
Providing a stable temperature is important to almost any type of building, including food, pharmaceutical, retail, and more. Unfortunately, maintaining this temperature control can be expensive.
Beyond conventional HVAC systems, more and more facilities are considering alternative ways to control temperature, while also controlling costs. Two increasingly popular ways of doing this are implementing networked systems of high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) ceiling fans, and segmenting heated or cooled spaces with fabric curtain walls.
SUMMER ENERGY SAVINGS AND COMFORT
Large, cavernous facilities from storage plants and warehouses to restaurants and gymnasiums can use HVLS fans to cool down visitors, employees, and inhabitants of any type.
HVLS fans create a light 2-3 mph breeze that produces an evaporative cooling effect and reduces the effective temperature by 7 to 11°F. By moving large volumes of air in an area up to 22,000 square feet, a single HVLS fan can replace as many as 10 to 20 traditional high-speed floor fans. In air conditioned facilities, the breeze from an HVLS fan typically allows up to a 5°F increase in thermostat setting with no change in comfort. With an electric bill savings of 4 percent for each degree, an annual savings of 20 percent can be achieved in warm weather climates.
BETTER USE OF HEATED AIR IN WINTER
During the heating season, there is often more than a 20°F difference between floor and ceiling in warehouses, large retailers and virtually any tall building due to warm air rising and cold air settling. Heating systems must work hard for extended periods of time to achieve the proper temperature at the ground level, because the air temperature is roughly one-half to 1°F warmer for each additional foot of conditioned space.
HVLS ceiling fans mitigate the rising heat effect by gently moving the warm air near the ceiling back down toward the floor where it is needed. This mixing effect, known as destratification, creates a much more uniform air temperature with perhaps a single degree difference from floor to ceiling. With the use of an HVLS fan, there is less of a burden on the heating system, saving energy and dollars.
For even more environmental and energy control, as many as 18 HVLS fans can be linked into one network that can be easily managed with one device. This controller allows independent speed adjustments and scheduled run times at the touch of a button, greatly reducing maintenance challenges associated in facilities that have ambient sunlight or temperature-effecting operations in one part of the building, but not another.
An optional Ethernet port allows the system to be accessed via a remote device, such as smartphone or other mobile unit. Additionally, they can be programmed into a building management system (BMS) and connected to other infrastructure equipment such as exhaust fans. A “fire stop” option is also available, in which the BMS will automatically turn off the HVLS fans and activate sprinklers in the event of a fire.
THE ROI OF HVLS
Because HVLS fans are efficient, their return on initial investment often ranges from six months to two years, depending on a number of application variables. Winter energy savings are substantial, as users can reduce their heating bills by 20 to 30 percent.
SEGMENTING SPACE WITH FABRIC CURTAIN WALLS
Another energy saving product that is becoming increasingly popular are non-permanent fabric curtain walls. By separating environments within and around the perimeter of industrial buildings, fabric curtain walls can allow HVAC systems to work more efficiently — while keeping workers comfortable and productive.
Many facilities attempt to heat and/or cool large areas of their buildings, and in some cases, condition the whole footprint. The reasons for this vary from employee comfort and safety to raw material or ingredient protection to requirements for specific processes in production areas. With fabric curtain walls, you can effectively compartmentalize treated air spaces so that air and energy dollars aren’t flowing freely throughout the entire building.
The smaller the space can be made, the smaller and less powerful the HVAC system required. By reducing the volume of the space to be heated or cooled, less energy needs to be used to power HVAC systems to achieve a desired temperature. Facilities can cordon off areas in a warehouse that demand a cooler temperature, while leaving other areas at a warmer temperature. Additionally, lower air flow through the filter reduces the frequency required for change out or cleaning.
If a space needs to be enlarged or reduced, or the shape of the space footprint needs to change, curtain walls can simply be reconfigured. No “de-construction” is required.
Industrial curtain walls are available with several levels of insulation and can provide up to 40 degrees of temperature separation. They are easily installed, can be trimmed to fit around conduit, piping, ductwork, etc., and can be anchored to the floor to withstand pressure differential across them. Depending on the application, a curtain wall can be suspended from the room ceiling, or they can be supplied with a stand-alone framework to hang from. They are available as stationary as well as sliding (suspended from roller track), and can be fitted with strip curtains, personnel doors, or high-speed industrial doors for full range of access to the space.
By creating temperature-controlled zones, you can be more strategic with HVAC expenditures on an annual basis. Fabric curtain walls can significantly improve the effectiveness of these systems, as well as offer the opportunity for cost savings, both in the initial cost of the equipment, as well as in direct operating cost.
CAPITALIZING ON THE ADVANTAGES
Designers and engineers are increasingly turning to HVLS fans and fabric curtain walls to maximize energy efficiency and improve comfort. Although no two facilities or applications are exactly the same, and careful analysis of product specs and placement is necessary, HVLS fans and fabric curtain walls continue to gain recognition as practical and affordable ways to enhance environmental control.
Publications date: 9/03/2018