# A Numerical Study on the Exergy Performance of a Hybrid Radiant Cooling System in an Office Building: Comparative Case Study and Analysis

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## Abstract

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## 1. Introduction

_{2}) [1,2]. In the building sector, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are responsible for the majority of the building energy consumption. In particular, global warming has affected the rise in cooling loads in hot and humid climates. Low-exergy technologies that have a high-temperature cooling system, e.g., radiant cooling systems [3,4], could minimize the actual environmental impact and maximize the energy efficiency of the systems due to the minimization of the exergy released and the CO

_{2}emissions [5,6].

## 2. System Description and Methods

#### 2.1. Cooling Systems in a Building

#### 2.2. Weather and Building Characteristics as Case Studies in China

_{set}indicates the indoor cooling set temperature in K, ${T}_{\mathsf{\tau}}$ is the indoor air temperature at the time of τ in K, ${\dot{Q}}_{\mathrm{surf}}$ is the radiative and convective gain from the surfaces in kJ/h, ${\dot{Q}}_{\mathrm{air}}$ is the heat gain due to air entering indoor in kJ/h, Q

_{inf}is the infiltration gain in kJ/h, Q

_{int}denotes the radiative and convective gains by the internal heat source in kJ/h, and Q

_{solar}is the solar radiation gain through the windows in kJ/h.

^{3}/h, with 1.0 air changes per hour (ACH), was selected according to international standards for normal air quality [47,48,49], and the space area of the office room was 14.3 m

^{2}. This study estimated that two occupants worked in the room.

#### 2.3. Energy and Exergy Performance of the Systems

#### 2.3.1. Energy Load Calculation

_{fg}is the specific enthalpy value of the vaporization of water in kJ/kg, c

_{p.air}is the specific heat capacity value of air in kJ/(kg⸱K), ${\dot{m}}_{\mathrm{air}}$ is the mass flow rate of air in kg/h, Δw is the change in the humidity ratio of air in kg/kg, ΔT is the temperature change value of air in K, Δh is the change in specific enthalpy in kJ/kg, ${\dot{m}}_{\mathrm{water}}$ is the mass flow rate of water in kg/h, and c

_{p.water}is the specific heat capacity of water in kJ/(kg⸱K).

#### 2.3.2. Exergy Load Calculation

_{i}with the pressure (p

_{o}), temperature (T

_{o}), and chemical potential (μ

_{o}) [53], and the physical exergy is defined by the pressure (p) and temperature (T) of the system. The detailed formulas were illustrated in [22,53,54].

_{air}is the specific ideal gas constant in J/(kg⸱K), T

_{o}is the outdoor air temperature in K, ω is the indoor air humidity ratio in kg/kg, ῶ is mole fraction ratio, ω

_{o}is the outdoor air humidity ratio in kg/kg, c

_{p.vapor}is the specific heat capacity of water vapor in kJ/(kg⸱K), and p

_{o}is the outdoor air pressure in Pa.

_{sat}is the saturated water vapor pressure in Pa, and ϕ

_{o}is the outdoor air relative humidity as a percentage.

^{3}/h, respectively, $\Delta p$ represents the total pressure differences in Pa, and ${\eta}_{\mathrm{fan}}$ and ${\eta}_{\mathrm{pump}}$ are the fan and pump system efficiencies of units as a percentage, respectively.

#### 2.3.3. Exergy Efficiencies

_{cool.sup}is the specific exergy for cooling supply fluid in kJ/kg, ex

_{cool.re}is the specific exergy for cooling return fluid in kJ/kg, ex

_{ceil.sup}is the specific exergy for ceiling supply fluid in kJ/kg, ex

_{ceil.re}is the specific exergy for ceiling return fluid in kJ/kg, P

_{pump}is the pump electricity in kJ/h, and P

_{fan}is the fan electricity in kJ/h.

## 3. Results

#### 3.1. Energy Performance of Systems

#### 3.2. Exergy Analysis

## 4. Conclusions

- In the hot and humid summer season, the HRCS was the most efficient cooling strategy due to the extra cooling output provided by the compact convector and the relatively low exergy destruction in the cooling and dehumidification process with higher-temperature cooling sources.
- The HRCS released an additional 20–30% of cooling output, and it could adapt well in extreme hot and humid weather conditions.
- The comparison analysis using the four different weather datasets showed simple and rational exergy efficiency; as a result, the ambient condition, temperature, and humidity ratio significantly impacted the exergy efficiency ratio.
- The overall CIR of the HRCS with an airbox convector was approximately 185% higher than that of the AAS and 8.5% higher than that of the CRCS.
- The HRCS presented the most efficient characteristic in reducing the environmental impact and increasing the benefits compared with the AAS and CRCS in hot and humid summer conditions.

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Institutional Review Board Statement

## Informed Consent Statement

## Data Availability Statement

## Acknowledgments

## Conflicts of Interest

## Nomenclature

c_{p.air} | specific heat capacity value of air, kJ/(kg⸱K) |

c_{p.water} | specific heat capacity of water, kJ/(kg⸱K) |

c_{p.vapor} | specific heat capacity of water vapor, kJ/(kg⸱K) |

h | enthalpy, kJ/kg |

h_{fg} | specific enthalpy value of the vaporization of water, kJ/kg |

$\dot{m}$ | mass flow rate, kg/h |

${\dot{m}}_{\mathrm{air}}$ | mass flow rate of air, kg/h |

${\dot{m}}_{\mathrm{water}}$ | mass flow rate of water, kg/h |

p | pressure, Pa |

${p}_{\mathrm{o}}$ | outdoor air pressure, Pa |

${p}_{\mathrm{sat}}$ | saturated water vapor pressure, Pa |

P_{airbox} | airbox energy load, kJ/h |

P_{fan} | fan electricity, kJ/h |

P_{pump} | pump electricity, kJ/h |

$\dot{Q}$ | cooling load, kJ/h |

${\dot{Q}}_{\mathrm{lat}}$ | lateral cooling energy load, kJ/h |

${\dot{Q}}_{\mathrm{sen}}$ | sensible cooling energy load, kJ/h |

${\dot{Q}}_{\mathrm{tot}}$ | total cooling energy load, kJ/h |

R_{air} | specific ideal gas constant, J/(kg⸱K) |

T | temperature, K |

${T}_{\mathsf{\tau}}$ | indoor air temperature at the time of τ, K |

$\dot{V}$ | air or water volumetric flow rate, m^{3}/h |

Greek letters | |

Δ | difference or change in the specific parameter |

η_{pump} | pump efficiency, % |

η_{fan} | fan efficiency, % |

τ | time |

$\nu $ | specific volume for liquid water, m^{3}/kg |

$\varphi $ | relative humidity, % |

${\psi}_{\mathrm{sim}}$ | simple or universal exergy efficiency, % |

${\psi}_{\mathrm{rat}}$ | rational and functional exergy efficiency, % |

ω | humidity ratio, kg/kg |

ῶ | mole fraction ratio |

Abbreviation | |

AAS | all-air system |

ACH | air change per hour, h^{−1} |

AHU | air handling unit |

An | anergy, kJ/h |

CIR | cooling impact ratio, % |

COP | coefficient of performance |

CRCS | conventional radiant cooling system |

ex | specific exergy, kJ/kg |

ex_{tot} | total specific exergy, kJ/kg |

ex_{phys} | physical exergy, kJ/kg |

ex_{chem} | chemical exergy, kJ/kg |

HRCS | hybrid radiant cooling system |

HVAC | heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning |

Subscripts | |

1, 2, 3, 4 | process number presented in the Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 |

1a, 2a, 3a | air mass flow in the process number presented in the Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 |

a(ir) | air |

c | cooling |

acc | actual cooling capacity |

cc | cooling coil |

ceil | ceiling |

ceil.re | ceiling return |

ceil.sup | ceiling supply |

chc | chilled ceiling |

cool | cooling |

cool.re | cooling return |

cool.sup | cooling supply |

cooling and dehum | cooling and dehumidification process for the systems |

cw | condensed water |

chem | chemical |

desired.out | desired outdoor air |

e.c. | energy consumption |

hc | heating coil |

hot.sup | hot water supply |

hot.re | hot water return |

in | inlet |

input | exergy or anergy input |

lat | latent cooling load |

max | maximum |

mix.air | mixed air |

o | outdoor |

out | outlet |

p | pressure |

phys | physical |

rat | rational ratio |

re | return |

rec | re-circulated |

reheat | reheated air |

sat | saturated |

sen | sensible cooling load |

sim | simple |

sup | supply |

sup.air | supply air |

sup.water | supply water |

tot | total |

w | water |

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**Figure 7.**Cooling loads of the designed office room and the cooling capacities of the AAS, CRCS, and HRCS.

**Figure 8.**Simple exergy efficiencies of the three cooling systems in four cities: B—Beijing, S—Shanghai, C—Chengdu, and G—Guangzhou.

**Figure 9.**Rational exergy efficiencies of the three cooling systems in four cities: B—Beijing, S—Shanghai, C—Chengdu, and G—Guangzhou.

**Figure 10.**Overall impact ratio of the three cooling systems in four cities: B—Beijing, S—Shanghai, C—Chengdu, and G—Guangzhou.

**Figure 11.**Overall impact ratio of three cooling systems in each city: upper left, Beijing; upper right, Shanghai; lower left, Chengdu; lower right, Guangzhou.

Settings | Values |
---|---|

Volume flow rate (m^{3}/h) | 43 |

Net floor area (m^{2}) | 15 |

Indoor air temperature (°C) | 25 |

Ventilation rate (h^{−1}) | 1.0 |

Infiltration rate (h^{−1}) | 0.1 |

Occupant (W) | 150 × 2 |

Computer (W) | 100 × 2 |

Lighting (W) | 10 × 2 |

Structure | U-Values, W/(m^{2}⸱K) |
---|---|

Ceiling | 0.215 |

Long wall | 0.215 |

Short wall | 0.215 |

Ground | 0.151 |

Window | 1.432 |

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## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Liu, J.; Su, M.; Fu, N.; Kim, M.K.
A Numerical Study on the Exergy Performance of a Hybrid Radiant Cooling System in an Office Building: Comparative Case Study and Analysis. *Buildings* **2023**, *13*, 465.
https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13020465

**AMA Style**

Liu J, Su M, Fu N, Kim MK.
A Numerical Study on the Exergy Performance of a Hybrid Radiant Cooling System in an Office Building: Comparative Case Study and Analysis. *Buildings*. 2023; 13(2):465.
https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13020465

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Liu, Jiying, Meng Su, Nuodi Fu, and Moon Keun Kim.
2023. "A Numerical Study on the Exergy Performance of a Hybrid Radiant Cooling System in an Office Building: Comparative Case Study and Analysis" *Buildings* 13, no. 2: 465.
https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13020465