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Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems A Path to Balancing Energy and IEQ

April 19, 2012

Following are answers to questions from the viewing audience that were not
answered during the webcast due to time constraints:

1. How much can operating cost can be lowered by using DOAS instead of a VAV System?
This is discussed in the paper at this link:
Stanley Mumma
2. If a DOAS unit is delivering Cold 48F air to the terminal units on a hot humid day without any
reheating to a neutral temperature, wont there be close to saturated cold air flowing through the
ductwork to the terminal units, which can cause condensation in the ductwork? Also wont there be a
higher concern over condensation forming on the outside of the ductwork throughout the building?
More insulation would be needed around all the ductwork in the building and if insulation ever gets
removed condensation would form in those areas during humid conditions, correct?
Everything you state is correct, and is easy to accommodate when recognized as you have. By the way,
unwanted condensate can and does form on ductwork supplying 55F air when the ductwork is routed through
plenums and other regions separate from conditioned spaces.
Stanley Mumma

3. Is there some reference available of example projects of successful building integrated radiant cooling
hybrid systems in the southern and coastal part of North America with outdoor summer design
condition with dew points much higher than indoor design condition dew points generally quite unlike
northern European or Canadian conditions?
I am not aware of such a reference, but many such projects do exist. You can reference such projects by
contacting representatives at some of the businesses noted at this link:
Stanley Mumma

4. How can optimum comfort level as well as energy efficiency be achieved simultaneously?
You are correct to surmise that low energy use and excellent indoor air quality are conflicting goals. There
are many papers at this link that address aspects of your concern: To date,
it appears that DOAS with parallel chilled surfaces is as close to achieving that goal as we know about today-for most projects.
Stanley Mumma

5. If supplying very cool air from the DOAS, what is the added cost and required space for thermal
I dont have those figures readily available, however I can point you to the extensive literature produced for
off peak air conditioning (i.e. ice thermal storage). Main difference here is that instead of supplying roughly
1 cfm/ft2 of floor area, much smaller ducts handling only 20% that air flow rate is required with DOAS.
Stanley Mumma

6. What is the formula for DOAS per area? Are there Rules of Thumb for DOAS system design?
The formula for DOAS per unit area is to first determine the amount of ventilation air required for a space
based on ASHRAE 62 requirements for ventilation (usually flow per person plus a flow per unit area) and
then using this flow and the projected supply air dewpoint (based on climate and type of
dehumidification/cooling equipment), room design dewpoint and latent load for the space (based on people
and other latent sources in the space), cross check if the calculated flow rate can remove the latent load. The
DOAS airflow to the space should be the larger of either the rate calculated to meet ASHRAE 62 and the rate
capable of removing the latent loads. Each space needs to be calculated in this fashion.
Tim McGinn

7. How many of the chilled beam/ceiling/floor systems have you seen installed and operating and how long
have they been operating to show compliance and operation?
I do not have direct personal experience with chilled beam systems in operation. I would suggest chilled beam
suppliers as your best choice for obtaining references on existing installations.

Tim McGinn

8. You have discussed hospitals and under floor air distribution within the same context, should that not
even be considered because of possible infection spread and cleaning issues? Do you agree? For schools
it may be considered, but can you provide under floor distribution in K-4 classrooms? Possibly not?
Below is the text from the slide in question and may help explain the context of my comments;
Given a choice the designer should consider high ventilation effectiveness air delivery systems first , and
only if unsuitable, move toward less effective methods. Spaces with variable occupancy should use demand
based control. I am a big fan of displacement ventilation and when the choice is available to me, will use it

for most applications. Displacement can be coupled well with radiant technologies and adapted to raised
floor environments. It should be emphasized that displacement air distribution from a raised floor plenum is
fundamentally different from conventional under floor air distribution, the diffusers are different, 100%
outdoor air is used, and controlling of plenum leakage is more important due to a lower flow rate per unit
area than conventional UFAD. The following results of a CFD study comparing mixing and displacement
ventilation systems in a hospital patient room. This slide illustrates that in the breathing zone, there is a
marked reduction in the age of air for the displacement system. As a designer, when implementing
displacement ventilation, I normally dont take credit for the higher ventilation effectiveness and instead
design for equal air volumes to overhead dilution systems, this essentially results in ventilating at higher than
code minimums. Of course with hybrid systems, all air flows must handle the latent loads as well as the
ventilation requirements.
I did not wish to leave with you the impression that a raised air is being advocated in a patient room. I agree
that infection control concerns would make this approach inappropriate. I was only indicating that
displacement air can be delivered from a raised floor (in the appropriate facility). There are a number of
schools where raised floors have been designed, but not by me personally. I would guess this choice is based
on other considerations such as amount of data/comm. and wiring infrastructure and the desired flexibility to
manage the technology in the long term. I have seen this approach on middle schools and high schools rather
than K-4, usually because of their higher levels of technology. I agree, K-4 would provide some challenges if
floor diffusers were availed to curious tots over the long term.
Tim McGinn

9. What is the comparison of mechanical systems of the two schools from the Case Study in dollars?
Actual dollar figures has not been published and would be misleading without accurate adjustment to account
for the two schools being built seven years apart. The data presented in the case study is a more accurate
comparison; as a percentage of total facility capital cost, without including the site development cost (which
varied widely between schools), the old school mechanical contract was 11% more than the newer school
mechanical contract.
Tim McGinn

10. What are examples of zone cooling systems that do not use a four pipe system?
To begin, any water-based terminals (fan-coils, chilled beams, chilled ceiling panels, etc.) could be used with
either a two-pipe or four-pipe water distribution system. In a two-pipe configuration, all the zones receive
either cold water for cooling or hot water for heating. Unless a separate heating system is used, the drawback
of this approach is an increased risk of occupant discomfort during those times of the year when some zones
may require heating while others require cooling. How often this discomfort might occur depends on the
building layout (perimeter vs. interior zoning) and usage patterns.
When a two-pipe configuration is used, however, the dedicated OA system can be controlled to reset the
leaving-air dry-bulb temperature during such times in an attempt to minimize such overcooling or
overheating, especially if the dedicated OA unit is a packaged piece of equipment that is not connected to the
chiller or boiler plant. For example, when the two-pipe system is in the cooling mode (the boiler is off), the
dry-bulb temperature supplied by the dedicated OA unit can be reset upward just enough to prevent

overcooling the coldest space. When the system is in the heating mode (the chiller is off), the temperature can
be reset downward just enough to prevent overheating the warmest space.
Otherwise, water-source or ground-source heat pumps typically use a two-pipe water distribution loop.
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) terminals typically use a two-pipe (or maybe a three-pipe, for heat recovery)
distribution loop, but in this case the pipes are carrying refrigerant, rather than water.
John Murphy
11. Low DP air may cause lower chiller COP. How do you prevent this in practice? What if the water coil
just wont drive out enough moisture?
Many dedicated outdoor-air systems are designed to dehumidify the air to a dew point that is low enough to
remove the indoor latent load and maintain the indoor humidity level below some desired upper limit (e.g.,
50% or 60% RH, 55F dew point). For some applications, particularly those with higher indoor latent loads,
the dew point required from the dedicated OA equipment may be quite low. This would require the water
chiller or refrigeration equipment to operate at lower refrigerant pressures, which likely results in a lower
For applications that require the dedicated OA equipment to dehumidify air to a very low dew point, you
might consider including a desiccant dehumidification wheel as part of the dedicated OA unit. This allows the
unit to deliver air at a lower dew point without requiring the cooling coil to operate at a colder temperature.
Two such configurations were shown near the end of John Murphys Dedicated OA Equipment
Configurations presentation during the webcast.
John Murphy
12. What is your experience with pre-treating OA for geothermal systems?
For distributed ground-source heat pumps (in which one heat pump serves each zone), outdoor air for
ventilation is typically delivered by a dedicated outdoor-air system (DOAS). There are various ways this
outdoor air can be delivered to the individual zones, but for most distributed heat pump systems the DOAS
typically delivers conditioned outdoor air either 1) near the intake of each local heat pump (such as to an
open ceiling plenum or to a closet) or 2) directly to each zone through separate diffusers. The configurations
were described in John Murphys Dedicated OA Equipment Configurations presentation during the
The advantage of delivering the conditioned OA directly to each zone is that it is easy to ensure that the
required outdoor airflow reaches each zone, and it affords the opportunity to cycle the local fan on and off, or
vary its speed, at part load since the OA is not distributed to the zone through that local fan. And, if the OA is
delivered at a cold temperature, rather than reheated to neutral, this configuration offers the opportunity to
downsize the local equipment, as explained during the webcast.
In most applications, the dedicated outdoor-air system should pre-condition this OA, rather than deliver it
unconditioned to the zones. In climates that experience humid weather, designing the DOAS to dehumidify the
air to a dew point that is lower than the desired space dew point helps limit indoor humidity without relying
on the local heat pumps to dehumidify adequately at part-load conditions. In climates that experience very
hot or very cold weather, designing the DOAS to cool or heat the air avoids the need to substantially oversize
the local heat pumps to handle the ventilation load. And finally, in many climates, including some sort of
exhaust-air energy recovery device in the DOAS can reduce the energy required to condition the OA.

John Murphy
13. Please discuss frost protection of energy recovery devices in DOAS.
Every type of air-to-air energy recovery device can experience frosting on the exhaust-side of the device
during cold weather. As heat transfers from the warmer exhaust air stream to the colder outdoor air stream,
the dry-bulb temperature of the exhaust air decreases. Eventually, the condition of the air passing through the
exhaust side of the device may cool to the point where it reaches a saturated condition, and moisture
condenses out of the air onto the exhaust-side surface of the device. If the surface temperature of the device is
colder than 32F (0C), this condensed moisture will begin to freeze on the device. How often this frosting
occurs depends on the type of energy recovery device, the prevalence of cold weather, and the condition
(particularly the humidity level) of the air entering the exhaust-side of the device.
The various types of energy recovery devices each have their own methods to prevent frosting. For example, a
coil runaround loop may use of three-way mixing valve to divert warm fluid leaving the exhaust-side coil to
mix with the cold fluid leaving the supply-side coil, such that the resulting mixture enters the exhaust-side coil
at a temperature above 32F (0C). On the other hand, a total-energy wheel may modulate a supply-side
bypass damper to reduce the amount of cold OA that passes through the wheel, thereby reducing the heat
transferred and preventing the condition of the air passing through the exhaust side of the device from
reaching a saturated condition.
The various types of air-to-air energy recovery devices, and their methods for preventing frost, are described
in the Trane Air-to-Air Energy Recovery in HVAC Systems application manual (SYS-APM003-EN,
John Murphy
14. What are some control strategies to avoid condensation?
The primary means of avoiding condensation at the local cooling equipment (whether using chilled surfaces,
like radiant cooling, or a fan-powered device, like a fan-coil or water-source heat pump) is to design the
dedicated outdoor-air system to dehumidify the air to a dew point low enough to remove the indoor latent
load and maintain the indoor dew point below the surface temperature of the local cooling equipment. If the
local cooling equipment cannot handle any condensation (such as chilled surfaces or chilled beams), then the
temperature of the chilled water delivered to the local equipment should also be above the indoor dew point.
During the roundtable portion of the webcast, Tim McGinn discussed using humidity sensors (in a few
representative zones) to reset the chilled-water temperature upward as needed to keep the water temperature
above the indoor dew point and avoid condensation. And, for buildings that include operable windows, both
Tim and Stan Mumma discussed using sash sensors to shut off water flow to the zone cooling equipment
whenever a window is opened.
John Murphy