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What is Underfloor Air Distribution?

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INTRODUCTION What is Underfloor Air Distribution? UFAD systems are a general class of air distribution system that deliver supply air through diffusers in the floor for space temperature control and ventilation and a raised access floor as the delivery path with return grills located near the ceiling. The space is divided into two zones, an occupied zone extending from the floor to head level, and an unoccupied zone extending from the top of the occupied zone to the ceiling. These systems are designed to condition the lower occupied zone only, Which make them increasingly popular alternatives to the traditional overhead systems, which attempt to condition the air in the whole volume of space. Under floor systems provide unique opportunities for energy savings, enhanced comfort control, and improved air quality. Figure 1 What is an Access Floor? An access floor is a modular system of architectural floor panels on pedestals above the structural floor to create an easily accessible under floor space. Traditionally, access floor systems have been widely used in clean rooms and in spaces with large amounts of electronic equipment, such as control rooms and computer rooms. ...read more.


> Mixing diffusers transfer the fresh air above the access floor > Typical diffuser designs include: (1) Manually adjustable 200mm dia., circular 'swirl' type models; (2) Manually or automatically adjusted 250mm X 250mm constant velocity models. See Figure 3 below on 'swirl' type diffusers. Figure 3 Swirl type floor diffusers > The 'swirl' type models can be installed in 300mm high raised floors while 'constant velocity models' require 400mm pedestals. > Most manufacturers designs allow occupants to manually regulate the airflow through diffusers without removing the diffuser cover. > Floor diffusers can be easily repositioned to suit the floor plan and workstation layouts. > A system known as the 'Task Ambient Conditioning System' actually extends the underfloor air through the floor in flexible ducts housed in the furniture allowing arm's length control of the direction and flow of air e.g. overhead air conditioning on a bus or plane. > The diffusers are placed on what are known as 'pedestals', which also support the access floor panels. See Figure 4 below. > 'Pedestal' heights will as previously discussed depend on the type of diffuser used i.e. 300mm or 400mm high pedestals depending on the type of diffuser. ...read more.


* The surface of the floor panels can be made from carpet tiles, decorative concrete, metal or wood. * Swirl diffusers quickly mix the supply air as it enters the occupied zone. * Air is circulated in an upward motion and is released through return grilles in the ceiling. Advantages of Underfloor Air Distribution * Reduced life-cycle building costs by improving flexibility in reconfiguring building services and office layout. * Diffusers can easily be rearranged if office layout changes. * Improved productivity in the workplace because diffusers can be adjusted for individual preference. * Improved ventilation efficiency, indoor air quality and health by delivering fresh air to the building occupants. * Reduced energy use from thermal stratification, reduced static pressures, and increased economizer operation. * Reduced floor-to-floor height in new construction by lowering the height of service plenums. * Increased chiller efficiency and reduced cooling load requirements. Disadvantages of Underfloor Air Distribution * The higher initial cost of the system. * Concerns about the problem of dust stirring from the floor. * Discomfort caused by draft and vertical temperature differences. * Possible obstructions to the air-flow in the access floor. Building services Underfloor Air Displacement Systems Jack O Sullivan 1 B.Sc Construction Economics Fintan O Sullivan Gary Prendergast ...read more.

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