A versatemp system is essentially a water loop with individual cooling or heat pump units throughout the building. The water is simply pumped around the circuit at a constant temperature, usually around 26-35°C. This water is then used by each room unit to either condense the refrigerant gas for cooling operation, or it is used in the evaporation of the gas in heating mode. The room control will determine whether heating or cooling is required.
If the water loop temperature becomes too cool, usually in the heating season, a boiler or other means of heating will raise the water temperature. Similarly, in the cooling season a dry air cooler or a liquid chiller lowers the water temperature to the preset condition.
The air is drawn in the linear vent at the bottom of the unit, heated or cooled, and then supplied back to the room via the linear grille at the top. This unit has been encased within a cabinet to match the décor of the room.
There are many different design air handling units, the image above shows the most common, with concealed ducted ceiling units also used extensively.
There are thousands of Versatemp systems in use in the UK, many of which have been running for many years. The use of such systems allow for very simple individual room or unit control.
Scheduled servicing should be carried out by a qualified professional to ensure the system is working to its full potential and not wasting energy and that the water is dosed correctly. Nevertheless, Simple air inlet filter cleaning is always essential for efficient operation.
By using water to transfer heat around the building heat can be reclaimed in one area and carried to another for use, dramatically increasing efficiency over other designs. It also allows for a very small amount of refrigerant in each air handling unit. In addition, in the unlikely event of an air handling unit failure the rest of the system remains unaffected.
Most significantly, this type of heating and cooling system can, with careful planning, make use of the energy that many industrial processes, public buildings, hospitals, educational establishments, retail outlets, IT suites, offices, leisure centres etc literally throw away everyday.
These types of premises and operations consume vast quantities of energy which is changed into heat and has to be extracted and disposed of. Typically this takes the form of hot air extraction or water circulation. Similarly, there are many processes that use large amounts of energy to produce ice and cold water, which is eventually run off to waste. Within the retail sector, the heat created by the refrigeration systems for cooler cabinets and freezers is almost always rejected by fans to atmosphere at the exterior of the premises. However, before being rejected, this heat could be passed through a reclaim arrangement and used for water heating.
In manufacturing, many plants pay for energy used in extracting heat from a process and then pay once more for disposing of this heat. This generates very high energy costs, which could easily be recouped by reclaiming the heat and using it within a heating and cooling system.
With many conventional air-conditioning systems, the heat within a given space is rejected to the atmosphere via a refrigerant based air-cooled condenser without there being any reclaimable energy benefits. Not so with the reverse-cycle water source heat pump system which employs water as the transfer medium, this is maintained within a predetermined operating band. The system has an inherent energy reclaim capability allowing simultaneous heating and cooling around a building, with terminal units either taking heat from the water loop or injecting heat into it. Unwanted heat is taken from areas requiring cooling and transferred, via the water loop, to areas requiring heating. Conversely, areas requiring heating will take heat from the water thus restoring the thermal balance in the loop.
A water loop system allows the building occupier to install reverse cycle water source heat pump terminal units that both heat and cool, while enabling all heat injection and rejection resources available to be incorporated for optimum plant efficiency. Such is the system’s versatility it is now possible to incorporate a variety of different heating and cooling units, including the large air handling plant encountered in cinemas or shopping centres, or close control equipment used in communications and IT rooms.
The Versatemp water loop system is a very flexible medium for the transfer of energy around buildings, allowing a variety of external processes to be injected to further increase the efficiency of a building’s heating and cooling infrastructure.
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