The process

There are many different methods of achieving comfort conditions (Heating, Cooling, Humidity Control, Ventilation & Filtration):

Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling (which should be treated as one entity) are the most important parts of the Air Conditioning system.

Heating (adding energy): Is achieved through electrical energy input, Natural Gas Boilers, Oil Boilers and Reverse Cycle Refrigerant Heat Pump. Transfer of this energy from source to the air-conditioned space can be via air circulation (Air systems), via water circulation (Water systems) or via refrigerant (Extended Direct Expansion systems).

Cooling (absorbing/removing heat): This is the reverse of heating i.e. transferring unwanted energy/heat (generated by lights, computers, people, solar heat gains through glass, structure heat gains, ventilation heat gains, etc.) from inside to outside. The transfer method is via the same media as heating transfer: Air systems, Water systems or Extended Direct expansion systems.

Statement: 95% of cooling systems (air, water or Extended Direct Expansion (EDX)) use Refrigerant (vapour compression cycle or VCC) in the heat rejection process, as Refrigerant is the most efficient media and has the advantage of having a boiling temperature of -40°C (water =+100°C) and an energy carrying capacity 10 times more efficient than water and 50 times more efficient than air.


Ventilation can be a part of the whole air conditioning system (in the case of Air Systems), where Air is also used to transfer energy, or an independent system mainly to provide ventilation (in the case of Water Systems and EDX). However, outside air needs to be treated (heated and/or cooled and filtered) to meet indoor temperature conditions, especially in extreme winter conditions and not so extreme summer conditions.

Statement: Utilising ventilation in mid season to control temperature can also provide an acceptable energy efficient solution. This is more the case in outer city areas and areas of low level, internal energy gain. Ventilation can representa high percentage of building energy consumption, especially in centralised systems. Modular systems are more controllable, run only where needed and easily added to when requirements change.


Filtration is an integral part of any air movement device; the level of it depends on the type of equipment selected to provide the other parts of the air conditioning system. It can also be added to an existing system or stand-alone (e.g. electrostatic) Dependent on the application (Public Houses, etc) and special requirements (Hospitals, etc).

Statement: There may be applications where due to capital cost implication, excessive ventilation (oversized) is applied to overcome the above special requirements at the expense of running cost. Localised filtration is more possible these days at low cost rather than over sizing the ventilation system.