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Is Underfloor Air Distribution Right for You?

July 24, 2013

You’re probably used to a fan blowing cool air down upon you, but have you ever considered it coming through the floor instead?

Increasingly used in office buildings, underfloor air distribution (UFAD) systems provide ventilation and space conditioning using a plenum beneath a raised floor to provide conditioned air through floor diffusers directly to the occupied zone.

Particularly utilized in reconfigurable and open plan offices where raised floors are desirable for cable management, UFAD is also becoming common in IT data centers and server rooms that have large cooling loads from electronic equipment and requirements for routing power and data cables. According to ASHRAE, any building considering a raised floor for cable distribution should consider a UFAD system.

“UFAD truly integrates the HVAC system with the entire building by utilizing common building materials as the air delivery means. The raised access floor allows accessibility to other building system infrastructure, such as power and data cabling, to facilitate easier space reconfiguration,” says James Megerson, lead author of ASHRAE’s new UFAD publication. “Due to the lower system operating pressures and potential to expand economizer operation, the system could use much lower energy than ducted systems.”

For more information on UFAD and tips on deciding to implement, check out UFAD Guide: Design, Construction, and Operation of Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) Systems, available at www.ashrae.org.