CFD simulation and optimisation of a low energy ventilation and cooling system

Calautit, John Kaiser and O'Connor, Dominic and Sofotasiou, Polytimi and Hughes, Ben Richard (2015) CFD simulation and optimisation of a low energy ventilation and cooling system. Computation, 3 (2). pp. 128-149. ISSN 1866-9964 (

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Mechanical Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems account for 60% of the total energy consumption of buildings. As a sector, buildings contributes about 40% of the total global energy demand. By using passive technology coupled with natural ventilation from wind towers, significant amounts of energy can be saved, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. In this study, the development of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis in aiding the development of wind towers was explored. Initial concepts of simple wind tower mechanics to detailed design of wind towers which integrate modifications specifically to improve the efficiency of wind towers were detailed. From this, using CFD analysis, heat transfer devices were integrated into a wind tower to provide cooling for incoming air, thus negating the reliance on mechanical HVAC systems. A commercial CFD code Fluent was used in this study to simulate the airflow inside the wind tower model with the heat transfer devices. Scaled wind tunnel testing was used to validate the computational model. The airflow supply velocity was measured and compared with the numerical results and good correlation was observed. Additionally, the spacing between the heat transfer devices was varied to optimise the performance. The technology presented here is subject to a patent application (PCT/GB2014/052263).