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Title: Field Test and Performance Verification: Integrated Active Desiccant Rooftop Hybrid System Installed in a School - Final Report: Phase 4A

Abstract

This report summarizes the results of a field verification pilot site investigation that involved the installation of a hybrid integrated active desiccant/vapor-compression rooftop heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) unit at an elementary school in the Atlanta Georgia area. For years, the school had experienced serious humidity and indoor air quality (IAQ) problems that had resulted in occupant complaints and microbial (mold) remediation. The outdoor air louvers of the original HVAC units had been closed in an attempt to improve humidity control within the space. The existing vapor compression variable air volume system was replaced by the integrated active desiccant rooftop (IADR) system that was described in detail in an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) report published in 2004 (Fischer and Sand 2004). The IADR system and all space conditions have been monitored remotely for more than a year. The hybrid system was able to maintain both the space temperature and humidity as desired while delivering the outdoor air ventilation rate required by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Standard 62. The performance level of the IADR unit and the overall system energy efficiency was measured and found to be very high. A comprehensive IAQ investigation was completed bymore » the Georgia Tech Research Institute before and after the system retrofit. Before-and-after data resulting from this investigation confirmed a significant improvement in IAQ, humidity control, and occupant comfort. These observations were reported by building occupants and are echoed in a letter to ORNL from the school district energy manager. The IADR system was easily retrofitted in place of the original rooftop system using a custom curb adapter. All work was completed in-house by the school's maintenance staff over one weekend. A subsequent cost analysis completed for the school district by the design engineer of record concluded that the IADR system being investigated was actually less expensive to install than other less-efficient options, most of which were unable to deliver the required ventilation while maintaining the desired space humidity levels.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
885947
Report Number(s):
ORNL/SUB-01-4000025209
TRN: US200617%%263
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; AIR CONDITIONING; AIR QUALITY; COMPRESSION; DESICCANTS; EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES; ENERGY EFFICIENCY; ENGINEERS; FIELD TESTS; HEATING; HUMIDITY; HUMIDITY CONTROL; HYBRID SYSTEMS; MAINTENANCE; OCCUPANTS; PERFORMANCE; SAND; VENTILATION; VERIFICATION

Citation Formats

Fischer, J. Field Test and Performance Verification: Integrated Active Desiccant Rooftop Hybrid System Installed in a School - Final Report: Phase 4A. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.2172/885947.
Fischer, J. Field Test and Performance Verification: Integrated Active Desiccant Rooftop Hybrid System Installed in a School - Final Report: Phase 4A. United States. doi:10.2172/885947.
Fischer, J. Wed . "Field Test and Performance Verification: Integrated Active Desiccant Rooftop Hybrid System Installed in a School - Final Report: Phase 4A". United States. doi:10.2172/885947. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/885947.
@article{osti_885947,
title = {Field Test and Performance Verification: Integrated Active Desiccant Rooftop Hybrid System Installed in a School - Final Report: Phase 4A},
author = {Fischer, J},
abstractNote = {This report summarizes the results of a field verification pilot site investigation that involved the installation of a hybrid integrated active desiccant/vapor-compression rooftop heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) unit at an elementary school in the Atlanta Georgia area. For years, the school had experienced serious humidity and indoor air quality (IAQ) problems that had resulted in occupant complaints and microbial (mold) remediation. The outdoor air louvers of the original HVAC units had been closed in an attempt to improve humidity control within the space. The existing vapor compression variable air volume system was replaced by the integrated active desiccant rooftop (IADR) system that was described in detail in an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) report published in 2004 (Fischer and Sand 2004). The IADR system and all space conditions have been monitored remotely for more than a year. The hybrid system was able to maintain both the space temperature and humidity as desired while delivering the outdoor air ventilation rate required by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Standard 62. The performance level of the IADR unit and the overall system energy efficiency was measured and found to be very high. A comprehensive IAQ investigation was completed by the Georgia Tech Research Institute before and after the system retrofit. Before-and-after data resulting from this investigation confirmed a significant improvement in IAQ, humidity control, and occupant comfort. These observations were reported by building occupants and are echoed in a letter to ORNL from the school district energy manager. The IADR system was easily retrofitted in place of the original rooftop system using a custom curb adapter. All work was completed in-house by the school's maintenance staff over one weekend. A subsequent cost analysis completed for the school district by the design engineer of record concluded that the IADR system being investigated was actually less expensive to install than other less-efficient options, most of which were unable to deliver the required ventilation while maintaining the desired space humidity levels.},
doi = {10.2172/885947},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Dec 21 00:00:00 EST 2005},
month = {Wed Dec 21 00:00:00 EST 2005}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This report summarizes the results of a research and development (R&D) program to design and optimize an active desiccant-vapor compression hybrid rooftop system. The primary objective was to combine the strengths of both technologies to produce a compact, high-performing, energy-efficient system that could accommodate any percentage of outdoor air and deliver essentially any required combination of temperature and humidity, or sensible heat ratio (SHR). In doing so, such a product would address the significant challenges imposed on the performance capabilities of conventional packaged rooftop equipment by standards 62 and 90.1 of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.more » The body of work completed as part of this program built upon previous R&D efforts supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and summarized by the Phase 3b report ''Active Desiccant Dehumidification Module Integration with Rooftop Packaged HVAC Units'' (Fischer and Sand 2002), in addition to Fischer, Hallstrom, and Sand 2000; Fischer 2000; and Fischer and Sand 2004. All initial design objectives established for this development program were successfully achieved. The performance flexibility desired was accomplished by a down-sized active desiccant wheel that processes only a portion of the supply airflow, which is pre-conditioned by a novel vapor compression cycle. Variable-speed compressors are used to deliver the capacity control required by a system handling a high percentage of outdoor air. An integrated direct digital control system allows for control capabilities not generally offered by conventional packaged rooftop systems. A 3000-cfm prototype system was constructed and tested in the SEMCO engineering test laboratory in Columbia, MO, and was found to operate in an energy-efficient fashion relative to more conventional systems. Most important, the system offered the capability to independently control the supply air temperature and humidity content to provide individual sensible and latent loads required by an occupied space without over-cooling and reheating air. The product was developed using a housing construction similar to that of a conventional packaged rooftop unit. The resulting integrated active desiccant rooftop (IADR) is similar in size to a currently available conventional rooftop unit sized to provide an equivalent total cooling capacity. Unlike a conventional rooftop unit, the IADR can be operated as a dedicated outdoor air system processing 100% outdoor air, as well as a total conditioning system capable of handling any ratio of return air to outdoor air. As part of this R&D program, a detailed investigation compared the first cost and operating cost of the IADR with costs for a conventional packaged approach for an office building located in Jefferson City, MO. The results of this comparison suggest that the IADR approach, once commercialized, could be cost-competitive with existing technology--exhibiting a one-year to two-year payback period--while simultaneously offering improved humidity control, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency.« less
  • The final report for Phase 1 of this research effort (ORNL/SUB/94-SV004/1) concluded that a significant market opportunity would exist for active desiccant systems if it could be demonstrated that they can remove a significant proportion of common airborne contaminants while simultaneously performing the primary function of dehumidifying a stream of outdoor air or recirculated building air. If the engineering community begins to follow the intent of ASHRAE Standard 62, now part of all major building codes, the outdoor air in many major cities may need to be pre-cleaned before it is introduced into occupied spaces. Common air contaminant cosorption capabilitymore » would provide a solution to three important aspects of the ASHRAE 62-89 standard that have yet to be effectively addressed by heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment manufacturers: (1) The ASHRAE standard defines acceptable outdoor air quality. If the outdoor air contains unacceptable levels of certain common outdoor air contaminants (e.g., sulfur dioxide, ozone), then the standard requires that these contaminants be removed from the outdoor air stream to reach compliance with the acceptable outdoor air quality guidelines. (2) Some engineers prefer to apply a filtration or prescriptive approach rather than a ventilation approach to solving indoor air quality problems. The ASHRAE standard recognizes this approach provided that the filtration technology exists to remove the gaseous contaminants encountered. The performance of current gaseous filtration technologies is not well documented, and they can be costly to maintain because the life of the filter is limited and the cost is high. Moreover, it is not easy to determine when the filters need changing. In such applications, an additional advantage provided by the active desiccant system would be that the same piece of equipment could control space humidity and provide filtration, even during unoccupied periods, if the active desiccant system were operated in a recirculation mode. (3) Almost all major medical, university, and research facilities face the dilemma that the air exhausted from a building exits near the intake of another building. As a result, contaminants exhausted outdoors are pulled back into the same or an adjacent building. The removal of contaminants from outdoor air that an active desiccant system offers would be attractive to applications in such cases. The primary objective of this research project was to quantify the ability of the SEMCO composite desiccant dehumidification wheel to purify outdoor and recirculated air streams by removing gaseous contaminants commonly encountered in actual applications. This contaminant removal is provided simultaneously with dehumidification (removing the latent load) of these air streams at conditions encountered in HVAC applications. This research builds upon initial seed work completed by the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) during 1993 (Bayer and Downing 1993).« less
  • This report summarizes the investigation of two active desiccant module (ADM) pilot site installations initiated in 2001. Both pilot installations were retrofits at existing facilities served by conventional heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems that had encountered frequent humidity control, indoor air quality (IAQ), and other operational problems. Each installation involved combining a SEMCO, Inc., ADM (as described in Fischer and Sand 2002) with a standard packaged rooftop unit built by the Trane Company. A direct digital control (DDC) system integral to the ADM performed the dual function of controlling the ADM/rooftop combination and facilitating data collection, trending, and remotemore » performance monitoring. The first installation involved providing preconditioned outdoor air to replace air exhausted from the large kitchen hood and bathrooms of a Hooters restaurant located in Rome, Georgia. This facility had previously added an additional rooftop unit in an attempt to achieve occupant comfort without success. The second involved conditioning the outdoor air delivered to each room of a wing of the Mountain Creek Inn at the Callaway Gardens resort. This hotel, designed in the ''motor lodge'' format with each room opening to the outdoors, is located in southwest Georgia. Controlling the space humidity always presented a serious challenge. Uncomfortable conditions and musty odors had caused many guests to request to move to other areas within the resort. This is the first field demonstration performed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory where significant energy savings, operating cost savings, and dramatically improved indoor environmental conditions can all be claimed as the results of a retrofit desiccant equipment field installation. The ADM/rooftop combination installed at the restaurant resulted in a reduction of about 34% in the electricity used by the building's air-conditioning system. This represents a reduction of approximately 15% in overall electrical energy consumption and a 12.5-kW reduction in peak demand. The cost of gas used for regeneration of the desiccant wheel over this period of time is estimated to be only $740, using a gas cost of $0.50 per therm--the summer rate in 2001. The estimated net savings is $5400 annually, resulting in a 1-2 year payback. It is likely that similar energy/cost savings were realized at the Callaway Gardens hotel. In this installation, however, a central plant supplied the chilled water serving fan coil units in the hotel wing retrofitted with the ADM, so it was not metered separately. Consequently, the owner could not provide actual energy consumption data specific to the facility. The energy and operating cost savings at both sites are directly attributable to higher cooling-season thermostat settings and decreased conventional system run times. These field installations were selected as an immediate and appropriate response to correct indoor humidity and fresh air ventilation problems being experienced by building occupants and owners, so no rigorous baseline-building vs. test-building energy use/operating cost savings results can be presented. The report presents several simulated comparisons between the ADM/roof HVAC approach and other equipment combinations, where both desiccant and conventional systems are modeled to provide comparable fresh air ventilation rates and indoor humidity levels. The results obtained from these simulations demonstrate convincingly the energy and operating cost savings obtainable with this hybrid desiccant/vapor-compression technology, verifying those actually seen at the pilot installations. The ADM approach is less expensive than conventional alternatives providing similar performance and indoor air quality and provides a very favorable payback (1 year or so) compared with oversized rooftop units that cannot be operated effectively with the necessary high outdoor air percentages.« less
  • For more than 30 years, there have been strong efforts to accelerate the deployment of solar-electric systems by developing photovoltaic (PV) products that are fully integrated with building materials. This report examines the status of building-integrated PV (BIPV), with a focus on the cost drivers of residential rooftop systems, and explores key opportunities and challenges in the marketplace.
  • The initial development of a liquid-desiccant dehumidifier/cooler that is designed to process the ventilation air to a commercial building is described. The unit uses a unique three-way heat exchanger that both dehumidifies the ventilation air to building and rejects the latent heat to a cooling air stream. Both a computer model of the dehumidifier's performance and bench-top test of key components were used to develop a cost-effective design. Two full-scale models of the unit were constructed and installed as part of the HVAC system of two commercial buildings. The roof-top installations were straight forward. The dehumidifiers integrated well with themore » operation of the existing HVAC systems, and were effective to relieving the buildings' existing HVAC systems of the latent loads.« less