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Article Date: 14th November 2014

AET - Making Better Use of Space Design Led Flexible Working Spaces

Underfloor Air Conditioning - Air Conditioning - Flexible Space Systems

AET Building

Specifying heating and cooling services for commercial workspace can be challenging, especially when considering speculative office developments where occupant requirements are not defined; but must be flexible, adaptable and enable prospective businesses to use their premises for the best gain.

Modern trends in design promote ‘feel good workplaces’, with consideration for the health and wellbeing of office workers. It is long established that a healthy workplace encourages productivity and efficiency from employees, but can designers realistically achieve the adaptable spaces with daylight, fresh air, sightlines, and personal environmental control when considering the core internal services of a commercial building?

Incorporating mechanical ventilation adds specific challenges to the designer’s brief. Traditional air conditioning systems are often fixed installations without the capability to change. Adopting an Under Floor Air Conditioning (UFAC) system early in the design phase can overcome these challenges; and contrary to traditional systems, are easily reconfigurable, adaptable to change and provide high quality indoor environment for the building’s occupants.

Under Floor Air Conditioning makes use of the plenum beneath a raised access floor as the ventilation duct and can introduce a number of ways to benefit by providing fully flexible modular building services that can be adapted to tenant requirements.

The AET Flexible Space system is a duct-free approach to air conditioning which can offer a number of savings throughout the construction process. Users of such systems have reported total construction cost savings by up to 7%, reduced energy consumption by up to 30%, and the ability to reduce building height or maximise the available lettable space by reducing or completely eliminating the ceiling void and adding more floors within the same height of construction.

The whole plenum under the building’s raised access floor becomes the “duct”, with each floor of the building divided into a number of zones depending on the potential use and occupancy density of the area. Each zone is supplied with chilled or warmed air by a conditioned air module (CAM), and the clean treated air is delivered into the work space via a floor recessed terminal unit, or “Fantile”. The fantile has been designed to fit into the space of a standard 600 x 600mm floor tile, and can therefore be easily re-positioned in minutes. Additional features include local personal control of temperature and fan speed for users.

The specification of a building’s core elements is critical for a customer focused design. Making the best use of space can only be achieved if the core services in a building are flexible and adaptable to change of use. By utilising an under floor, ductless system, space, and flexibility can be maximised, creating a better working environment which saves time, costs and energy and will therefore add value to the building over its life span.

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