The idea of a cooperative project between ASHRAE and REHVA first came up as an idea during the Clima 2010 conference. A few months later a joint team was assembled and we met in Stockholm for the first of many meetings. As with most things in life, it is the journey not the destination, but I think I speak for the entire group in saying that it was a relief to finally get the guidebook published.
There were many twists and turns along the way, concerning everything from how much detail about beam design and performance is useful to share, should a chilled beam be called that, seeing as they heat as well, is that not miss-leading? How much system design and comparisons do we want to included?
The general feeling was that the existing REHVA book was full of good information, but it just needed updating and giving a slightly more application focus. Personally I always found the existing guidebook useful to dip into if I had a question which I needed more insight into, but I found it difficult to read through. This I felt was important if, especially as North America was waking up to the potential and curious about beam technology. This I think we have achieved.
So, what are the highlights of the guidebook? For me the real highlight is the case studies and the way these are laid out. Not only do we take different cities from around the world (this was a discussion in its self. The conclusion from the group was, “beams don’t care where in the world they are and what the climate is outside, because modern buildings should be fairly air tight and measured to ensure this, so it is the job of the central plant to provide the correct conditions for the beams.” But because there will always be someone who thinks it won’t work in their climate, we spread out the examples around the globe.
We have also chosen different applications; if you want to do a commercial office, lab, hotel or patient room, to name but a few, no problem, examples are provided. We offer selection notes and comments on the design, just to help out in the beginning. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
The examples are based on a spreadsheet which is available for download in both SI and IP, so there are no excuses. This idea of laying out the examples only came up about half way through the project, so the book would not have been as good if we’d have finished earlier.
In short, the focus, has been on giving a good introduction to curious design engineers who want to understand more about beam technology. It takes skill and understanding to design a beam climate system, but the benefits are in terms of comfort and life cycle costs (energy and maintenance).
I recommend this publication to all who are curious or have an existing interest in beams. The book may not be perfect, but I believe it has raised the game in terms what guidance is available. If you have any ideas how to improve the book for the next revision, don’t hesitate to volunteer!
Lastly I need to thank everyone involved, ASHRAE and REHVA staff, and the entire working group, particularly Julian Rimmer for being my co-chair, but above all Peter Simmonds and Carlos Lisboa without whom the guidebook would have been completed.
John Woollett CEng, Fellow REHVA, Member ASHRAE, Fellow CIBSE