HVAC Systems, Radiant Cooling, Sustainable Building

Why Radiant Cooling Solutions are Essential for Green Building Design

The factors for designers and architects to consider when embarking on the challenge of green building design are multiplex. One of the most important elements to incorporate into the planning of green buildings is the overall energy efficiency of the building as a functioning, sustainable whole. Once the planned life of the building is understood, investing in the right green design elements is essential.

That’s why energy saving measures need to be implemented early in the life cycle of the building where soft costs can be readily applied as an investment in green design. Radiant cooling systems are one such design element that, as a future-minded investment in the early stages of green design planning, can save healthily on both energy and operating costs. Here’s a look at how radiant cooling solutions can achieve these important savings:


How Radiant Cooling Systems Save Energy

Peak power usage for conventional vs radiant cooling systems

Water is a much more efficient medium for the transport of energy than air. Water is 832 times denser than air, so available particles per given volume of water for the capturing and channelling of energy – whether being heated or cooled –  is much greater than that of air. Radiant cooling solutions, like Uponor’s energy efficient system, that circulate water using hydronic cooling methods are also much more energy efficient than their traditional HVAC equivalents.

This graph shows that with all the energy producing elements of both systems during operational power periods taken into account, radiant cooling solutions operate at a drastically lower output than conventional HVAC systems. This will naturally translate into reduced operating costs.


How Radiant Cooling Solutions Save on Operating Costs

How radiant cooling solutions save on operating costs

Radiant cooling contributes significantly to both energy and cost reduction in the life of the building. The graph above shows clearly that during peak power output periods, radiant cooling systems use 42.8% less energy than conventional HVAC systems to perform conditioning functions. This, of course, translates into a similar figure over sustained periods of peak and off-peak usage for both systems and ultimately shows how radiant cooling solutions are the sustainable answer for both energy and cost savings in green buildings.

Radiant cooling solutions represent the substantial cost and energy benefits for all sustainable design elements to be considered for implementation in the commercial sector. According to a report by the World Green Building Council the initial construction costs for green building design elements might come at a premium compared to lower-efficiency alternatives. However, the long-term energy savings and lower maintenance and operational costs of energy efficient systems will prove sufficient payback in the later stages of the building’s lifecycle.

The rapid ROI comes from the drastic reduction in operating costs once the building takes its first breath as a living entity. The SmartMarket report on World Green Building Trends for 2016 predicts a 22% decrease in initial operating costs after one year and a 49% dive in sustained operating costs after five years. That’s for all green building design elements of which radiant cooling already factors in as a priority consideration.

The rapid ROI comes from the drastic reduction in operating costs once the building takes its first breath as a living entity

As a business case for green building design considerations, this is an integral part of what makes the investment attractive. The same WGBC report cites a rapid return on investment as a major incentive for investors in green building, correlated to the developers desire to achieve a higher sales prices at market. Radiant cooling systems, therefore, become essential to green building design if both developers and investors alike want to achieve these outlined goals.

The abovementioned trends make for a positive outlook in energy and cost savings with investment in green building. And with radiant cooling already contributing so positively to these important business considerations in green building planning, it’s safe to say its future in the cooling of green buildings is secured.


Radiant cooling vs all air cooling eBook

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