Climate change is continuously bringing hotter summers and because of this fact, the use of air-conditioning systems is also extending in European countries. To reduce the energy demand and consumption of these systems, it is particularly significant to identify further technical solutions for direct cooling. In this research work, a field study is carried out on the cooling energy performance of an existing, operating ventilation system placed on the flat roof of a shopping center, located in the city of Eger in Hungary. The running system supplies cooled air to the back office and storage area of a shop and includes an air-to-air rotary heat wheel, a mixing box element, and a direct expansion cooling coil connected to a variable refrigerant volume outdoor unit. The objective of the study was to investigate the thermal behavior of each component separately, in order to make clear scientific conclusions from the point of view of energy consumption. Moreover, the carbon dioxide cross-contamination in the heat wheel was also analyzed, which is the major drawback of this type heat recovery unit. To achieve this, an electricity energy meter was installed in the outdoor unit and temperature, humidity, air velocity, and carbon dioxide sensors were placed in the inlet and outlet section of each element that has an effect on the cooling process. To provide continuous data recording and remote monitoring of air handling parameters and energy consumption of the system, a network monitor interface was developed by building management system-based software. The energy impact of the heat wheel resulted in a 624 kWh energy saving and 25.1% energy saving rate for the electric energy consumption of the outdoor unit during the whole cooling period, compared to the system without heat wheel operation. The scale of CO2
cross-contamination in the heat wheel was evaluated as an average value of 16.4%, considering the whole cooling season.
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