A New Development in the North American HVAC Industry: Displacement Ventilation

Although the concept and application have been around since 1978 (first commonly used in Scandinavia), it’s only been fairly recently that displacement ventilation has come to North American shores. It’s somewhat surprising that it’s taken this long, given that displacement ventilation now counts for the air conditioning of roughly 25% of the total corporate offices in Nordic countries, and has been incorporated into large construction jobs like Bangkok, Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Displacement ventilation is a less costly and more environmentally-sound indoor cooling solution than traditional HVAC systems: it’s been proven to provide lower utility costs, as well as cleaner air, to the spaces where it’s been instituted. It manages this by the efficient means through which it distributes cool air: instead of the cool air coming from a single air handling unit in a room, the cool air gets distributed throughout the floor, then rises gradually upwards (in what are called “thermal plumes”) as it comes into contact with the heat of the room. Each thermal plume provides enough draft to convey the gradually heated air up to the ceiling of the room, whereupon it gets dispersed by way of exits.

As mentioned before, the technology is relatively new to the United States and Canada. Nevertheless, we at R.L. Craig anticipate a growing number of individuals and companies adopting displacement ventilation for their homes and businesses, on account of its cleanliness and cost-effectiveness. One of the recent American adapters of displacement ventilation was NASA’s own Jet Propulsion Center; it’s only a matter of time before other industries follow aerospace’s lead into this tried and proven means of providing clean, cool air.

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