How to Choose the Right Air Conditioning Systems with EDGE?
In our previous article on EDGE certification (EDGE Blog Post), we discussed the importance of energy efficiency in building design and how EDGE certification can help reduce energy consumption, lower operating costs, and promote sustainable development. Energy efficiency is not only critical for environmental reasons, but it also has significant implications for our health and well-being.
With temperatures soaring above 30°C for most of the year in Thailand, it's important to have a comfortable indoor environment to stay healthy and productive. However, keeping buildings cool comes at a cost, both financially and environmentally. In this article, we'll explore the ideal temperature inside a building in Thailand, passive systems, different types of air conditioning systems, and how to choose the most energy-efficient and economic option through EDGE.
Ideal Temperature Inside Buildings in Thailand
Thailand has a tropical climate, characterized by high temperatures and humidity levels. During the dry season, the temperature inside a classic building can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius without air conditioning, making it impossible to live without it.
The ideal temperature inside buildings in Thailand is between 23 to 25 degrees Celsius (1). While this might sound too warm to some, it is essential to understand that the human body can easily adapt to such temperatures. In fact, maintaining the temperature at 23 to 25 degrees Celsius helps conserve energy while providing a comfortable living space.
Passive Systems Used in Green Building
One requirement to maintain such a level of interior temperature while having a reasoned energy consumption is by incorporating passive systems that work with natural elements to reduce the energy required to maintain the ideal temperature. Passive systems such as shading devices, natural ventilation, and thermal insulation can help to maintain the temperature around 25 degrees Celcius inside a building without relying entirely on air conditioning. If you are interested in learning more about passive systems, you can read our blog post: Passive design in green homes
Different Types of Air Conditioning Systems
Even if passive systems are highly optimized, air conditioning systems are still a necessity to maintain users comfort. It is essential to understand that not all air conditioning systems are the same. Different types of air conditioning systems are available, and each has its principle of operation and energy consumption. Here are the most common types:
Window Air Conditioners
Window air conditioners are the most commonly used air conditioning systems in developing countries. In addition to being easy to install and maintain, they are relatively inexpensive. Window air conditioners work by drawing in hot air from a room and passing it over evaporator coils containing a refrigerant, which absorbs the heat and releases cool air back into the room. The refrigerant is then pumped to a condenser coil outside, where the heat is released into the outdoor air. However, they are not the most energy-efficient air conditioning systems.
Split Air Conditioners
Split air conditioners are more energy-efficient than window air conditioners and are becoming increasingly popular in Thailand. They work by splitting the air conditioning unit into two parts, one inside the building and the other outside. The indoor unit is connected to the outdoor unit by a set of pipes that contain refrigerant. Split air conditioners are more energy-efficient than window air conditioners but generally more expensive.
Central Air Conditioning Systems
Central air conditioning systems are the most efficient air conditioning systems available. They work by using a series of ducts to circulate cool air throughout the building. However, they are also the most expensive air conditioning systems available and require professional installation. Central air conditioning systems are typically used in commercial buildings or large buildings.
Energy efficiency of air conditioning systems
When it comes to energy efficiency, the Coefficient of Performance (COP) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) are important factors to consider. The COP is a measure of how efficiently an air conditioning system can cool a space, while the EER measures the cooling capacity per unit of energy consumed. The higher the COP and EER values are, the more energy-efficient the air conditioning system is.
Optimizing the cooling of building through EDGE
EDGE’s platform is a great tool to optimize the design of the cooling of buildings on an energy and economic level. Indeed, by providing criterias on passive and air conditioning systems, it allows users to compare different design options and scenarios to determine the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for their building.
For instance, once a user has pre-selected solutions of air conditioning systems that he may implement, EDGE will help him to choose the most adapted one by calculating the energy savings and cost of all options quickly and reliably.
In order to obtain its certification, EDGE encourages the use of energy-efficient air conditioning systems with a high coefficient of performance (COP) or energy efficiency ratio (EER) and optimizing passive energy systems so as to meet EDGE’s requirement on energy savings.
Do you wish to learn more about EDGE’s requirements on energy savings? Read our last article: EDGE Blog Post