A 9-month study of four relocatable school buildings, each retro-fitted with small reverse cycle air conditioners (ACs), was conducted to investigate their effectiveness in heating and cooling the classrooms. A comparison with data from previous studies found the energy used by the ACs for heating these temporary classrooms was only 19–20% of the energy used by individual gas heaters installed in permanent classrooms. When equipment efficiencies were considered, the AC units supplied 20–27% less energy to heat the classrooms. The possible reasons for this reduction in supplied energy are explored in this paper. CO2 emissions for the AC units in heating mode, however, were calculated to be 16% greater than for individual gas heaters. The AC units were also used for cooling and on an average the total annual energy consumption for heating and cooling was found to be 11.6 kWh m−2. Responses to a small survey of staff and students about the use and operation of the conditioners are presented. Their responses were more favourable than the predictions of comfort levels in the classrooms using the Predicted Mean Vote–Predicted Percentage of Dissatisfaction (PMV–PPD) model, which indicated “uncomfortable” conditions on average summer days at 3:00 p.m. and average winter days at 10:00 a.m. Background noise levels in the classrooms with the air conditioners in use were above the recommended maximum design level of 45 dB(A); levels of up to 65 dB(A) were measured.
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Field of Research
120201 Building Construction Management and Project Planning
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