Radiant vs. Air Based Parallel Cooling System

When you incorporate a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) into the cooling system for your building, you’ll need to supplement it with another parallel cooling system. DOAS systems are important because they ensure a proper and consistent influx of fresh air, but they can’t typically handle the entire cooling load of a building on their own. Luckily, there are a number of options for a supplemental system. Specifically, when you want the right system to supplement a DOAS, you have two choices – air-based or radiant cooling.

Air Based Parallel Cooling

In an air-based parallel cooling system, reconditioned air from the building is used to compliment the fresh air supplied by the DOAS. This reconditioned air can be mixed with the DOAS and then circulated throughout the building, or the two types of air can be circulated separately through their own ductwork systems.

It’s easy to see how putting in two systems of ducts could increase your initial installation costs if you go that route. But by keeping the two types of air separate, you’ll always have the right combination of fresh and recirculated air in each area of your building.

Combining these two air sources prior to building-wide circulation, on the other hand, can both save you on initial installation costs and on operating costs, as the fan power needed to circulate air from a single supply is much less than what you would need for two separate supplies.

Radiant Parallel Cooling

However, there is another option entirely when you’re trying to supplement your DOAS – radiant parallel cooling. This involves installing a system of radiant cooling panels throughout the building. These panels are cooled continuously so they absorb heat from people and objects in each room.

As the panels absorb heat and carry it away, the change in air temperature near the panels leads to the development of natural convection currents that gradually spread the cool air throughout the room. Radiant cooling is ideal for use with a DOAS because it requires very little additional energy usage and no fan or ductwork.

Particularly if you are installing a system in a building for the first time and have no ducts or other features in place yet, radiant ceiling panels can be the ideal choice from both a functional and budgetary standpoint.

The system that works best for you will depend largely on the current layout of your building, the specific cooling needs of tenants or employees, and your target installation costs. Make sure to do your research well in advance before choosing your cooling method and you’ll be set for years to come.