Thermo-hygroscopic envelope to support alternative cooling systems: speculative feasibility study in a small office building
Marshall, Marionyt Tyrone
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The thesis explores the technical feasibility of an alternative method of decoupling air-conditioning systems function within the context of ecological issues. The system is a variant of dedicated outdoor air systems to separate dehumidification and cooling in air conditioning equipment. The project specifically investigates locating these components within the building envelope. Placement in the envelope moves the systems closer to fresh air and offers architectural expression for components that are normally out of sight. Designers, engineers, building science, mechanical, structural, biologist, and architectural engineers ideally as agents offer beneficial improvement to the system. The reduction in size of components into the building envelope offers risk. The thesis design space uses historical works, biological analogues, and past work to ground the technical understanding of the topic. Specific use of biological inspired design realizes translation from other systems to improve the alternative decoupled air conditioning system. The thesis develops prototype models for lighting analysis and for sensible and latent heat calculations. Psychrometric charts serve as tools to understand the thermodynamic air-conditioning process in conventional direct expansion vapor compression and solar liquid desiccant air conditioning systems. Data, models, and sketches provide tools for improvements to the 'thick' building envelope. Finally, the diagrams translate into functional decompositions for modifications to improve the system. The thesis probes the constraints in the areas of cost, fabrication, and technology that may not yet exist for selective improvement rather than a barrier to development of the thesis.