Raised floor systems allow intelligent HVAC solutions
Higher requirements for modern office and administration buildings, the demand for energy optimization and a healthy working environment have led to new, intelligent solutions for air-conditioning systems.
Raised floors allow the entire building services equipment (data, communication and electricity cables, ventilation and air-conditioning ducts) to be installed and maintained easily under the floor. In the case of Underfloor Air Distribution Systems (UFADs), the plenum itself is used as a ventilation and air-conditioning duct. These systems were originally associated with computer rooms, but are now increasingly being used in offices and other buildings. Conditioned air is supplied into the room through vents in the floor or from small, floor-mounted diffusers. UFADs offer considerable benefits compared to traditional air-conditioners. Firstly, they are much more energy efficient as the air does not need to be cooled to the low temperatures of conventional air-conditioning systems which use overhead ductwork. Secondly, the plenum provides an easily accessible and extremely flexible space for power and communication cables. This is a significant benefit in open-plan offices and offices which may be rearranged occasionally.
Protection against energy losses and condensation
To ensure that UFADs function reliably in the long term and operate efficiently, it is essential that the plenum is insulated using a suitable material. Insulating the floor and sidewalls will minimize thermal loss and thus the cooling energy required. This is particularly important when diffusers are located far from the distribution fans and where the air flow may be affected by obstructions within the plenum.
Insulation is also an important means of condensation control when the air temperature is not kept above the dew point temperature – for example, when large quantities of potentially moist outdoor air are introduced, which would condense on the cold concrete slab. There is the risk of condensation occurring not only within the plenum, but also on the surfaces of the adjoining underfloor material.
Highly flexible insulation material.
Due to its closed-microcell material structure, excellent insulation properties and ease of installation, Armaflex is an ideal material for this area of application. The dust- and fibre-free insulation material has already been used with great success in these innovative air-conditioning systems, in banks, computer rooms, hotels and office buildings, for example.
Many raised floor systems are subject to regular, annual maintenance cycles. The floor cavity may be cleaned and vacuumed to remove dust. In addition, changes in cable configurations may be needed to support modification of office design. It is therefore recommended that a foil-faced product is used. The foil-facing protects the insulation material against mechanical stress and the surface can be cleaned easily. If major renovations are needed, the highly flexible insulation material can be removed and replaced easily. New pieces are simply cut and glued into place. .
Depending on the overall construction, not only thermal but also acoustic insulation may be needed. Here the ArmaSound products provide an easy, fibre-free solution for noise reduction.