You are on page 1of 8


Sunny summer days are beautiful, yet in the office a hot day can be altogether stressful.
Because productivity can suffer under such conditions, more and more buildings are
being fitted with air-conditioning systems.

Air-conditioning systems are mainly installed in hospitals, laboratories, food processing
units, software companies and other places that are multi-leveled and are visited by the
public or have many employees. Building air conditioning systems need to be of high
quality while delivering the most cost-effective approach.

The motive of this paper entitled as “Building Air Conditioning” is to present the
subject matter in a most concise and lucid manner.


Air-conditioning is a mechanical process for controlling the humidity, temperature,
cleanliness, and circulation of air in buildings and rooms.

Air-conditioner is a mechanism designed to extract heat from an area via a refrigeration

Chiller is a machine that removes heat from a liquid via a vapor-compression or
absorption refrigeration cycle.

Compressor is a pump that moves the refrigerant from the indoor evaporator to the
outdoor condenser and back to the evaporator again.

Condenser is a device that transfers unwanted heat out of a refrigeration system to a
medium (either air, water, or a combination of air and water) that absorbs the heat and
transfers it to a disposal point.

Ducts are pipes/channels that carry air throughout a building.

Evaporator is a device which absorbs heat from the surrounding air or liquid and moves
it outside the refrigerated area by means of a refrigerant.

Refrigeration cycle is a sequence of thermodynamic processes whereby heat is
withdrawn from a cold body and expelled to a hot body.

Refrigerant is a substance that produces a refrigerating effect while expanding or

Selection of Air-Conditioning System for a Building:

When considering and selecting an air conditioning system, the designer must
understand the building and the client’s requirements and try to study and evaluate the
following factors:

• Building location, surrounding environment and external climate.

• Uses and functional requirements of the building.

• Client’s budget, investment policy and expected quality of service.

The designer should consider various system options and recommend one or several
that will be likely to perform as desired. Some of the selection criteria include:

1. Performance requirements: On comfort, noise, control options, flexibility and
meeting requirements of local regulations/codes.

2. Capacity requirements: Range of capacity, multiple units & zoning etc.

3. Spatial requirements: Plant room space, space for ducting & piping (vertical
shafts) space for terminal equipment.

4. Costs: Initial cost, operating cost & maintenance cost.

5. Energy consumption: For both economic & environment reasons.

6. System qualities: e.g. aesthetics, life, reliability & maintainability.
Types of Building Air-Conditioning Systems:

VRF Air-Conditioning:
VRF stands for Variable Refrigerant Flow. It is innovative climate control technology
which allows changes in temperature in different parts of a building at different times of

A VRF system comprises of a condensing unit sited externally and a series of multiple
indoor units to provide cooling and/or heating to the occupied space.

A VRF air conditioning system modulates the flow of refrigerant depending upon the
capacity requirements of the building.

It also has the ability to provide simultaneous heating and cooling the difference here
being that this is achieved through either two or three pipes.

With VRF technology, the desired temperature is set on the user control panel and the system
will constantly adapt and change with the external conditions to maintain that temperature
without further user interference.
Solar Air conditioning:

Sole S.A designed, manufactured and installed the largest solar air-conditioning plant
in the world in 1999.

To enable this Sole S.A designed and manufactured a low energy Absorption chiller unit.

This system uses 2,700 m2 of selective flat plate solar collectors and air-conditions an
area of 22,000 m2.

The cold water (in summer) and hot water (in winter) goes to the air handling units
installed in the building and in the form of cold or hot air, the building is air-conditioned.

In summer, the solar collectors supply water at 75ºC to the two “solar chillers” with a
total capacity of 700 kW. During winter, the collectors circulate 55ºC hot water directly to
the space being heated.

The solar chiller cools hot water in a totally natural way, by the process of condensation
and evaporation of the “cooling medium” (water) under vacuum conditions.

A super-efficient solar collector produced utilizing TINOX ultra-selective surface is at the
heart of this solar air-conditioner.
Central Air Conditioning System:
The following are different types of Central air conditioning systems:

1. Roof top Air conditioning:

A packaged system that mounts on the roof and connects directly to central ducting. It is
generally placed on a building's rooftop, in a large, commercial setting.

This type of roof top air conditioner uses refrigerant to cool the water which is then
pumped throughout the building via ducts and on to the air handling units.

This cooled water is then used to chill the air as needed.

There is no limit on the length of ductwork on these systems as there is no issue with
lubrication all that is required is that they are sufficiently insulated.
2. Split Air Conditioning:

A residential setting or small office building would typically use a split system.

Split system air conditioners describe air conditioners that have been split into an outdoor
unit and an indoor unit, in effect separating the hot and cold components of the system
which are then connected by refrigerant tubing.

The indoor unit typically consists of the evaporator coil and the air handler. This is where
the air is cooled and distributed into the required space.

The outdoor unit consists of the compressor and condenser where the heat is vented from
the building and the refrigerant is cycled back through the system.
3. Ductless Split Air Conditioning:

This system is used for residential and light commercial buildings.

The components of this system are separated. It consists of two units, one outside
containing the compressor and condenser, and one inside containing the evaporator and

The inside unit is usually mounted on the wall or on the ceiling. The condenser is
connected to single or multiple evaporator units inside. These evaporator units are
connected to the condenser unity by small flexible hoses and do not use a central air duct.


The range of the application of the above discussed systems is far and wide. In near
future they might be replaced with more advanced & efficient mechanisms. Air
conditioning with help of solar energy is a positive improvement in this field which has
to be appreciated and accepted.