Chilled beams in commercial refrigeration: characteristics and applications

The use of chilled beams has been fairly common across Europe for many years, although it is fairly new in the United States. A chilled beam is a device that is used to evenly cool, or warm, the room it is in.

Chilled beams in commercial refrigeration

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Chilled beams are able to self-regulate, as their actions are affected by the ambient temperature of the room. There are two main types of chilled beam.

Active Chilled Beams

Active beams are more controllable, as they use a supply of air that is directed to the coil within the beam, which in turn causes it to ventilate the room. This is particularly useful for businesses and institutions that require the ambient temperature to be within a specific range, for health and safety reasons. However, active chilled beams require a relatively large space and invasive installation that may not be possible in all situations.

The effect of an active system is not unlike that within a keg or cellar cooler, such as those available at commercial refrigeration experts Fridge Freezer Direct.

Passive Chilled Beams

Passive systems do not receive a supply of air from ductwork, as active systems do. This means that they are not able to fully ventilate rooms, so they are more suitable for situations that do not require a fixed temperature. As explained by, you will often find passive systems within schools, offices and community spaces.

Passive chilled beams are energy efficient, as they use natural energy to function. They rely on the upward motion of warm air, as air that has been cooled by the system drops. The movement between the two temperatures creates a pull that causes warm air to be drawn upwards even more efficiently.

While passive beams cannot be used as heating systems, they work extremely well as cooling systems in the right setting.

The main benefits of chilled beams in comparison to other systems is their efficiency, especially as coolers, due to their ability to use rising warm air to their advantage. They are also remarkably energy efficient, and relatively inexpensive to install, in contrast to other systems. Furthermore, their position on the ceiling means that they take up very little space. Chilled beams have been around for a while and are likely to be around for many more years to come.