What is “Stratified Air”?

By July 18, 2017Air Distribution

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Many HVAC systems in large commercial and public buildings rely on brute force to create a comfortable atmosphere at floor level. Operational budgets must fund a considerable amount of waste. Due to the phenomenon of stratified air, keeping a consistently warm or evenly cool building environment requires an enormous amount of energy during the extremes of winter or summer. Fortunately, a better method of temperature control has taken the market by storm. Effective destratification can chop costs while creating a unified, pleasant indoor temperature fit for human habitation.

Thermal Stratification

Also known as thermal stratification, when cooler, denser air sinks, warmer and thinner air rises creating layers of air with a gradient of temperatures. In buildings with high ceilings, the temperature differential from floor to ceiling can reach extremes. With overhead ducts, the air at the ceiling may be too hot for comfort while the air at floor level remains too cold. The hot air high above the floor level does little good for the building occupants during the cold months. Conversely, in the summer, the layered air can create stagnant pockets of chill while other areas remain too warm.

How Does Air Stratification Increase Costs?

Without an effective way to redistribute the warmer ceiling air to the floor, the heating system must produce enough hot air to fill the entire space such that the lowest level of the strata receives sufficient heat for comfort. In cooling situations, more air must be chilled to overcome sultry zones. One of the first casualties of human discomfort is productivity. Besides the costs of lost worker output, operational budgets suffer in the following ways:

  • High energy expenses to heat or cool more air than necessary
  • Shorter HVAC lifespans from excessive runtime
  • Shorter lighting lifespans as they cannot dissipate heat

How Can Air Be Effectively Destratified?

The solution lies in forcing a direct, non-turbulent air flow from ceiling to floor. This straight column of air gently pushes the upper air to the floor which then washes horizontally. A customized grid of Airius fans eliminates the problems of stratified air. Watch a video demonstration of this principle in action.

How Beneficial is Destratification?

Some of the many benefits of destratification include:

  • Up to 35 percent lower heating and 30 percent lower cooling costs
  • More comfort at the human level
  • Increased worker focus and productivity
  • Increased HVAC and lighting system longevity
  • Smaller carbon footprint
  • Additional factor in LEEDS certification

With Airius fans in place, the natural but expensive issues of stratified air in conditioned spaces can be conquered. Once destratified, indoor spaces remain pleasant, workers keep focus and operational/maintenance costs drop, while nature receives a break, too.

Airius Destratification Fans

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