Since we (Bryan, Jo-Anne, Nik and Kate) were going to Edmonton, Canada to visit Bryan’s family for Canadian Thanksgiving, Bryan took the opportunity to visit Twa Panel Systems, Inc. in Nisku, Alberta. Markus Benzenhofer arranged for Bryan to meet with Dave Selmser and tour the manufacturing facility.
We are using geothermal heat exchange and a ground source heat pump to heat and cool our house. The system that Ken Martin, from Silicon Valley Mechanical, refined the design of includes two insulated water tanks, one holding hot water and the other tank holding cold water.
The tank of hot water will be used to satisfy heating calls and the cold water for cooling calls. In order to cool our wine, there will be radiant cooling panels in the ceiling of the wine cellar. Actually, we will not be cooling the wine cellar but, rather, moving the BTUs (energy) from the wine cellar into the house (heating the house).
We met with Markus Benzenhofer of Twa Panel Systems, Inc. on October 29, 2009 at our project site. Markus reviewed our required and completed the preliminary design of a radiant system that could meet our requirements.
Currently, Ken Martin is integrating and refining the preliminary design.
Touring Twa Panel Systems’ Manufacturing Facility in Nisku, Canada
Since we flew into Edmonton International Airport (YEG) at 12:30 pm and were being picked up, Bryan arranged to meet with Dave Selmser at 3:30 pm. Nisku is just East of YEG so it was only minutes away from Bryan’s parents’ house in the South part of Edmonton.
Since Dave Selmser was in a meeting, Chris Tse showed Bryan Twa’s products that were installed in their building. This was valuable before the tour of the manufacturing facilities as Bryan had not seen all of Twa’s products.
As soon as he was finished, Dave met Bryan and picked up where Chris left off. Dave explained the evolution of radiant cooling panels and his role managing the modular active chiller beam product line at Twa Panel Systems. All of the products manufactured by Twa Panel Systems are modular so a complete and integrated system can designed to work together using various components in a flexible manner.
Evolution of Cooling Panels to Chilled Beams
In describing the product line, Dave explained that the evolution of cooling panels started with radiant cooling panels in a ceiling. These panels received chilled water and transfered heat (energy) from the room to the chilled water, heating the water, and then moving the water (heat) out of the room. This system was inherently more efficient than moving chilled air into a room since water can carry more energy than air.
The evolution continued when the ceiling panels were perforated to allow air to flow around the radiant panels, using convection to increase the heat transfer from the room to the chilled water (heating the water), and then moving the water (heat) out of the room.
To increase the efficiency of the convection, the next phase of the evolution was passive chilled beams. These passive chilled beams had fins attached to the copper pipes carrying the water into and out of the room. The fins provided a larger surface area to transfer energy and relied on convection to move air over the fins.
Moving air over the fins was enhanced by the use of fresh air, supplied by the HVAC system. The moving air was supplemented by small vents that would mix the incoming fresh air with existing air from inside the room, to increase the efficiency of the system while dramatically increasing indoor air quality.