Specialty Contractors For Demanding Environments

Improved Comfort and Air Quality Using Underfloor Air Distribution

2The use of raised access flooring provides great flexibility in reconfiguring office spaces due to changes in staffing or the introduction of new technology and equipment.  This flexibility is enhanced when underfloor utility distribution is included.  Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) not only increases configuration flexibility but also provides improved air quality and comfort for the inhabitants of the space.
In a traditional overhead air distribution system, the air is being fed from, and returned to, ductwork located in the ceiling.  The flow of air down into the space is met by the natural tendency of warmer air to rise up towards the ceiling.  This creates a turbulent zone where fresh air and stale air are mixed, resulting in lower quality air at the occupants level.  In periods where cooling is necessary, the supply air temperature needs to be lowered significantly below the desired temperature in order to compensate for this mixing and heating.

3In a UFAD system, the space below the floor is utilized as a pressurized plenum.  Fresh air is fed into the plenum and introduced into the occupied space through a network of ducted or ductless diffusers.  As the fresh air warms in the space,  it rises to the return ducts in the ceiling naturally, creating a more stratified flow.  Stale air is carried out of the occupied space, increasing the air changes without having to use more energy to move the air.  By eliminating this mixing zone and improving flow, UFAD systems reduce particle counts in the environment by up to 80%.  The quality of air in an office environment is a prime driver for reducing employee absenteeism and improving productivity.

Personal comfort can also be improved with UFAD.  Traditional overhead systems have centrally located thermostats that control the temperature over a large area.  With different individuals have different desires for the temperature around them, this inevitably manes that not everyone is satisfied, and may lead to bickering about the temperature.  With UFAD, adjustable diffusers can be place in individual offices or cubicles, allowing the inhabitant to control the flow of air, and therefore the temperature, in their own space.   Motorized valve boxes can also be utilized in conjunction with a locally mounted thermostat to control temperature automatically in a much smaller area without a significant expense.

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