The building type will determine which of three requirements will set the primary airflow. Offices and classrooms are driven by latent load, healthcare by ventilation, and hospitality by sensible loads. Once the zone sensible loads and primary air flow rates are established, the chilled beam design quickly falls into place.
The latest trend is to employ demand control ventilation and modulate the primary airflow rate based on occupancy, air quality and humidity. The building’s occupant comfort and energy usage are both greatly improved, but demand control ventilation is more complex to design and operate and slightly more expensive to install.
One final note about designing chilled beams: they are more than just the heating and cooling device; they are also the air distribution device. Beam performance details have all the same parameters (i.e. throw and sound data) you would expect with an air diffuser.
Excerpt from the article “Chilled Beam Systems” by Hugh Crowther published in the Canadian Consulting Engineer Magazine, December 2015. Read the article here (link here).