Air conditioning

Air conditioning systems have high energy demands for heating and particularly cooling systems. In addition the rates of air flow are often substantially higher than with simple mechanical ventilation systems, thus requiring heavy duty energy guzzling fans. The additional proportion of energy consumption is not matched by a proportional increase in comfort. The system is often operated for large fractions of the day when a suitable building design combined with an appropriate environmental control strategy would obviate the need for such air conditioning. The extravagant use of air conditioning is particularly noteworthy in the temperate climate of the United Kingdom.

There are of course some circumstances in which air conditioning is necessary. However, its use should be justified by the particular circumstances. In general it can be asserted that climate-sensitive design can eliminate the need for air conditioning in most instances.

Where air conditioning is deemed necessary, it likely to be of prime importance in only a fraction of the whole building and therefore designers should design for appropriate compartmentalisation with the conditioned area sealed from the remainder of the building.

Chapter Thirteen

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