In our houses, we have vents in the floors and ceilings that shoot out cool or warm air depending on what season it is and whether we have the furnace or the air conditioner on. Because the vents are in a set position on the floor, it makes furniture rearrangement that much more tricky and doesn’t allow for you to re purpose rooms as easily as you may imagine, but it gets hot and cold outside and we want our homes to be cooled or heated at will and this is how it is done.
More and more buildings on a bigger scale however have underfloor air distribution built right in as they are constructed making floor plans more flexible and without the need for static vents in strange places.
This technique is used in areas like data centers that produce a lot of heat from computers and equipment that is constantly used. In this application, isolated air conditioner zones are associated with raised flooring. Perforated tiles are placed under the computer systems to direct air to them, cooling them down in the process. The computing equipment is designed to draw the cool air from below and get rid of the warm air into the room. The air conditioner unit will them draw air from the room, cools it and forces it again through the raised flooring for the cycle to be complete.
Of course, raised flooring and underfloor air distribution go hand in hand and it is all part of the HVAC system in a building. This system makes for improved comfort for individuals in the building, better ventilation for equipment, machinery and of course, staff and improved energy efficiency for the building itself. It also results in reduced life cycle costs and is used in places like museums, schools, churches, offices and airports, all places where lots of people gather and lots of equipment is continually used.
One of the best parts about underfloor air distribution is the fact that reconfiguration of the space is a lot easier, it is also great for computer rooms as they are constantly cooled, reducing the effect of over heating on their operating systems. The only place this newer technology isn’t effective is for wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms, pool areas, gymnasiums and dining areas but it is widely used in common buildings around the country like the New York Times Building and the Bank of America Tower to name just two.