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Controlling the wind

It is time we got serious about eliminating uncomfortable cold air in the built-environment, says Saher Hilal

| | Mar 12, 2018 | 11:52 am
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If we go back in time to when the very first air conditioner was invented, then providing a controllable “wind” by simulating Mother Nature was always the target. Humankind took the first step in that regard thousands of years ago, while trying to find different ways to purify and humidify the wind breezing through home windows.

During the last century, air conditioners, as being able to control the air temperature, came to be part of our daily lives. And air quality came to be defined as being largely based on air temperature, humidity and purification.

A major influencer of thermal comfort has been the location of the air conditioner, a factor that directly has affected air distribution. To date, it has arguably not been possible to control this factor, even through deploying a specialist in air conditioning. Indeed, the reality has been that the architect has considered air-distribution only in terms of matching certain decoration requirements or, at best, has coordinated with the air conditioning designer in cases where air conditioning has been part of a turnkey project.

To date, individual tenants have traditionally decided on the location of the air conditioning system. And for long, manufacturers have tried their best to design indoor units to provide comfortable air distribution, regardless of their location. Against that backdrop, the next logical step in design perhaps is to explore how best to simulate Mother Nature in controlling the wind. Such a design should include flexibility as a key factor in locating the indoor unit without compromising on the endeavour to meet the consumer’s expectation for maximum thermal comfort. Indeed, the design ought to eliminate uncomfortable cold air in the built-environment and, at the same time, meet the equally important requirement of reduced power consumption, translating to reduced electricity bills.

An approach to design such an air conditioner could involve gently dispersing cold air through numerous micro air holes. I am talking of a two-step cooling system, which first lowers temperature in a fast-cooling mode and, then, automatically switches to a wind-free cooling mode, in the process creating “still air”, once the desired temperature is reached. Such an approach can also reduce energy consumption by more than 70%, compared to operating in fast-cooling mode.

As an additional feature, it is possible to incorporate digital inverter technology, so that the compressor’s motor generates fewer torque fluctuations, reducing the overall energy required and shortening the time needed for the compressor to reach its maximum rotation speed.

Further innovations through paying attention to the architecture of the design can yield a wider inlet, allowing for more air flow than other units in the market. Likewise, if the outlet has optimal width and angle, extra v-blades and a large fan, the possibilities are that much stronger for ensuring the air is cooled and expelled faster, farther and wider, to reach every corner of the room.

It’s about striving to reach the desired ideal of controllable wind.

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