Locating room air-conditioners at floor level for energy saving in residential buildings

C. F. Gao, Wai Ling Lee, Hua Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Residential air-conditioning becomes a common feature in our daily life. They are typically installed at high level known as ceiling-based system (CAC). With the increasing use of floor-based air-conditioning system in commercial buildings for energy saving, it is proposed in this study to locate a top discharge/front return air-conditioner at floor level to resemble a floor-based air-conditioning system (FAC) to curb energy use in residential buildings. Given the concerns about draught discomfort and thermal stratification associated with floor-based air-conditioning systems, the objective of this study is to evaluate the air distribution performance and to quantify the possible energy benefits. Bedroom was chosen as a sensitive case for detailed air distribution performance evaluation. Experimental study, CFD simulations and energy simulations were conducted in achieving the specific objectives. CAC and FAC were installed in a bedroom-like environmental chamber for experimental study at different indoor and outdoor conditions. The air velocities and temperatures at various positions and levels inside the chamber were measured to determine the air distribution performance indices (ADPI) and airflow draft risk (DR). The cooling output, power consumption and coefficient of performance (COP) of the two units were measured and calculated for comparison. The experimental results show that ADPI of CAC and FAC are 92.3% and 84.6%, respectively. COP of FAC is 8.11% higher than CAC, and the corresponding DR are comparable. The experimental results were used to validate the CFD simulations as well as providing actual performance data for predicting the energy use of applying CAC and FAC in a case-study building. CFD simulations and draught assessment confirmed that there is no potential draught discomfort and thermal stratification associated with the use of FAC. Energy simulations predicted that the associated energy saving is 6.9%. Wider use of FAC in residential buildings is therefore recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2009-2019
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2009


  • Air-conditioner
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Energy saving
  • Floor-based
  • Residential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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