GB2528642A - Apparatus - Google Patents

Apparatus Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2528642A
GB2528642A GB1412018.2A GB201412018A GB2528642A GB 2528642 A GB2528642 A GB 2528642A GB 201412018 A GB201412018 A GB 201412018A GB 2528642 A GB2528642 A GB 2528642A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
environment
air
heat
heat exchanger
air flowing
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Pending
Application number
GB1412018.2A
Other versions
GB201412018D0 (en
Inventor
Martin Goss
Richard Thomas Henry Pierce
Jason Michael Thomas Broderick-Pierce
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
PIERCE DEVELOPMENTS (HOLDINGS) LIMITED
Original Assignee
Pierce Developments Holdings Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Pierce Developments Holdings Ltd filed Critical Pierce Developments Holdings Ltd
Priority to GB1412018.2A priority Critical patent/GB2528642A/en
Publication of GB201412018D0 publication Critical patent/GB201412018D0/en
Publication of GB2528642A publication Critical patent/GB2528642A/en
Pending legal-status Critical Current

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B13/00Compression machines, plant or systems with reversible cycle
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F1/00Room units for air-conditioning, e.g. separate or self-contained units or units receiving primary air from a central station
    • F24F1/02Self-contained room units for air-conditioning, i.e. with all apparatus for treatment installed in a common casing
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F11/00Control or safety arrangements
    • F24F11/30Control or safety arrangements for purposes related to the operation of the system, e.g. for safety or monitoring
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F12/00Use of energy recovery systems in air conditioning, ventilation or screening
    • F24F12/001Use of energy recovery systems in air conditioning, ventilation or screening with heat-exchange between supplied and exhausted air
    • F24F12/002Use of energy recovery systems in air conditioning, ventilation or screening with heat-exchange between supplied and exhausted air using an intermediate heat-transfer fluid
    • F24F12/003Use of energy recovery systems in air conditioning, ventilation or screening with heat-exchange between supplied and exhausted air using an intermediate heat-transfer fluid using a heat pump
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F12/00Use of energy recovery systems in air conditioning, ventilation or screening
    • F24F12/001Use of energy recovery systems in air conditioning, ventilation or screening with heat-exchange between supplied and exhausted air
    • F24F12/006Use of energy recovery systems in air conditioning, ventilation or screening with heat-exchange between supplied and exhausted air using an air-to-air heat exchanger
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F2110/00Control inputs relating to air properties
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F2110/00Control inputs relating to air properties
    • F24F2110/50Air quality properties
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F2120/00Control inputs relating to users or occupants
    • F24F2120/10Occupancy
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F25REFRIGERATION OR COOLING; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; MANUFACTURE OR STORAGE OF ICE; LIQUEFACTION SOLIDIFICATION OF GASES
    • F25BREFRIGERATION MACHINES, PLANTS OR SYSTEMS; COMBINED HEATING AND REFRIGERATION SYSTEMS; HEAT-PUMP SYSTEMS
    • F25B2313/00Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for
    • F25B2313/027Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for characterised by the reversing means
    • F25B2313/02741Compression machines, plant, or systems with reversible cycle not otherwise provided for characterised by the reversing means using one four-way valve
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/52Heat recovery pumps, i.e. heat pump based systems or units able to transfer the thermal energy from one area of the premises or part of the facilities to a different one, improving the overall efficiency
    • Y02B30/563

Abstract

An apparatus 1 controlling the climate of an inner environment 3 comprises a heat exchanger 15 and a reversible heat pump 17 for controlling air temperature in the inner environment by heating (fig 1) or cooling (fig 2) air discharged into the inner environment. Air heated or cooled is dependent on the temperature of the air in the inner or an outer environment 5. A portion of the air from the outer environment may by-pass the heat exchanger and re-combine with the air flowing through the heat exchanger. Air quality in the inner environment may be controlled by replacing the air flowing from the inner environment to the outer environment. All air flowing to the inner environment may by-pass the heat exchanger if heating or cooling is not required (fig 3). The heat pump may heat or cool air that bypasses the heat exchanger, or heat or cool air re-circulated within the inner environment (fig 4). A humidifier 37 may control humidity of the air to the inner environment by adding steam or water to the air. One or more filters 31a, 31b, 33 may filter the air. Two fixed or variable speed fans 39, 41 supply or extract air.

Description

APPARATUS

This invention relates to apparatus for controlling the climate of an environment such as a room within a building.

Recent developments in building design and legislation have led to improved energy efficiency. However, improved energy efficiency can come at the expense of reduced internal air quality. Current systems for controlling the climate of a room require manual control, These systems also tend to be energy intensive to run and not to respond well to poor air quality. There is therefore a need to provide apparatus for controlling the climate of a room that overcomes or at least mitigates one or more of the aforementioned disadvantages.

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided apparatus for controlling the climate of an inner environment, the apparatus including a heat exchanger and a heat pump for controlling air temperature in the inner environment wherein the heat pump is reversible for heating or cooling air discharged into the inner environment.

The heat exchanger may be arranged to exchange heat between air flowing from the inner environment, for example a habitable room in a building, to an outer environment, for example external ambient, and air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment, The air flowing from outer environment to the inner environment may be heated or cooled depending on the r&ative temperature of the air in the inner and outer environments, A portion of the air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment may be arranged to by-pass the heat exchanger and re-combine with the air flowing through the heat exchanger to the inner environment.

Air quality in the inner environment may also be controlled by air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment to replace air flowing from the inner environment to the outer environment. Al! of the air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment for controlling air quality in the inner environment may be arranged to by-pass the heat exchanger if heating or cooling is not required in the inner environment.

The heat pump may be arranged to heat or cool air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment. The heat pump may be arranged downstream of the heat exchanger and arranged to heat or cool air received from the heat exchanger and/or by-passing the heat exchanger.

In this way, the combination of the heat exchanger and heat pump may be employed to control the temperature and air quality in the inner environment where the required temperature cannot be achieved with the heat exchanger alone.

The heat pump may be arranged to heat or cool air re-circulated within the inner environment. In this way, the heat pump may be employed independently of the heat exchanger to control the temperature in the inner environment where control of the air quality in the inner environment is not required.

The apparatus may include a humidifier for controlling humidity of the air in the inner environment. The humidifier may be arranged to add steam or water to the air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment and/or to the air recirculated within the inner environment.

The apparatus may include one or more filters for filtering air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment and/or for filtering air recirculated within the inner environment. The filters may be of any suitable type for the intended application. A combination of two or more filters may be employed depending on the type of material or materials to be removed from the air flow. For example, where the filters are employed to remove particulates, a combination of two or more filters of different grades may be employed to remove particles of different sizes, for example a coarse filter for larger particles and a fine filter for smaller particles.

The apparatus may include one or more fans for controlling flow rate of air flowing through the apparatus. For example there may be two fans.

One fan may be arranged to control air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment and may also control air recirculated within the inner environment. The other fan may be arranged to control air flowing from the air inner environment to the outer environment and may also control air recirculated within the outer environment. The fans may be single speed or multi-speed. Multi-speed may be provided by a plurality of different speed settings or by an infinitely variable speed control, The fan speeds may be controlled to create a pressure difference between the inner and outer environments.

The apparatus may include a controller arranged to control operation of the apparatus to provide a required climate in the inner environment in response to a detected climate in the inner environment, The apparatus may include a sensor system arranged to detect the climate in the inner environment. The sensor system may include one or more sensors for detecting a characteristic of the climate in the inner environment such as for example, temperature, air quality, humidity. The apparatus may include a user interface to allow a user to provide desired climate conditions. The user interface and/or sensor system may be in wireless or wired communication with the controfler.

The controller may be arranged such that the apparatus is controlled locally by the user interface. Alternatively or additionally, the controller may be arranged such that the apparatus is controlled by a central controller arranged to control the apparatus and at least one further apparatus provided in a different inner environment. For example a building may have several rooms with each room being provided with a separate apparatus and the controller of each apparatus is controlled by the central controller. The central controller may be in wired or wireless communication with the controller of each apparatus.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided apparatus for controlling the climate of an inner environment, the apparatus comprising a unit having a first air inlet for drawing air from an outer environment into the unit; a first air outlet for discharging air into the inner environment; a first air transfer system for passing the air drawn in at the first air inlet to the first air outlet; a second air inlet for drawing in air from the inner environment; a second air outlet for discharging air to the outer environment; a second air transfer system, separate from the first air transfer system, for passing the air drawn in at the second air inlet to the second air outlet; and means for controlling the temperature of the air discharged by the first air outlet, the means for controlling the temperature of the air discharged by the first air outlet comprising a heat exchanger arranged to exchange heat between the first air transfer system and the second air transfer system.

The apparatus may include a heat pump that can be configured for heating or cooling air between the heat exchanger and the first air outlet. It may be that the heat pump is reversible between a first mode of operation for heating air discharged by the first air outlet and a second mode of operation for cooling air discharged by the first air outlet.

Other features, benefits and advantages of the apparatus for controlling the climate of an inner environment will be more readily understood from the following description of embodiments of the invention which is provided by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein: Figure 1 shows apparatus embodying the invention configured in a first mode of operation; Figure 2 shows the apparatus of Figure 1 configured in a second mode of operation; Figure 3 shows the apparatus of Figure 1 configured in a third mode of operation; Figure 4 shows the apparatus of Figure 1 configured in a fourth mode of operation; and Figure 5 shows the apparatus of Figure installed for controlling the climate of a room.

Figures 1 to 4 schematically show apparatus 1 embodying the invention for controlling the climate of an inner environment 3 such as, for example, a room within a building. The inner environment 3 may be defined by bulkheads (not shown) such as walls, ceilings and floor, which separate the inner environment 3 from an outer environment 5 such as, for example external ambient. In one example, the outer environment 5 may be outside of the room or building and the air drawn in may be fresh air. In other examples, the outer environment 5 may simply be outside the bulkheads of the inner environment 3 The climate of the inner environment may be defined by one or more conditions, such as air temperature, air quality, humidity or any other suitable condition. Air quality may be defined by one or more characteristics, such as the concentration/level of carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrous oxides, fungae, spores, bacteria, pollen, particulates etc in the air. Any other suitable measure of the climate may also be used.

The apparatus has an air inlet 7 and an air outlet 9 in communication with the outer environment, The apparatus I also has an air inlet 11 and an air outlet 13 in communication with the inner environment. For convenience, the inlet 7 and outlet 9 are referred to as the external inlet 7 and external outlet 9 and the inlet 11 and outlet 13 are referred to as the internal inlet 11 and internal outlet 13 The apparatus I includes a heat exchanger 15 and a heat pump 17. The heat exchanger 15 can operate to transfer heat between air flowing from the outer environment 5 to the inner environment 3 and air flowing from the inner environment 3 to the outer environment 5 to either heat or cool the air, Any type of heat exchanger 15 may be employed such as a cross counter flow heat exchanger. The heat pump 17 can operate to transfer heat to or from air flowing from the outer environment 5 to the inner environment 3 to either heat or cool the air, The heat pump 17 can also operate to transfer heat to or from air flowing from the inner environment 3 and returned to the inner environment to either heat or cool the air, The heat pump 17 includes a compressor 19, first and second heat transfer units 21, 23 and a four way valve 25 for controlling the direction of flow of a refrigerant. Each heat transfer unit 21, 23 has a coil 21a, 23a and is provided with an expansion valve 21b, 23b and a one-way check valve 21c, 23c, A condensing tray and drain is shown at 26, The apparatus can be configured for different modes of operation according to requirements. Figures 1 and 2 show operating modes in which the external inlet 7 is in communication with the internal outlet 13 and the internal inlet 1] is in communication with the external outlet 9, In these arrangement, fresh air from the outer environment 5 flows along a flow path indicated by arrow A from the external inlet 7 to the internal outlet 13 through the heat exchanger 15 and is discharged into the inner environment 3 to replace air from the inner environment 3 that flows along a flow path indicated by arrow B from the internal inlet 11 to the external outlet 9 through the heat exchanger 15 and is discharged to the outer environment 5, The flow paths are separate from each other and may be provided by pipes, ducts or any suitable passageway (not shown). The heat exchanger 15 is operable to transfer heat to or from the fresh air discharged into the inner environment 3 according to the relative temperatures of the air in the inner environment 3 and the outer environment 5, Thus, when the air temperature in the inner environment 3 is higher than the air temperature in the outer environment 5, the incoming fresh air is heated by heat exchange with the exhaust air in the heat exchanger 15. Similarly, when the air temperature in the inner environment 3 is lower than the air temperature in the outer environment 5, the incoming fresh air is cooled by heat exchange with the exhaust air in the heat exchanger 15, It may be that the air temperature in the inner environment 3 can be controlled by heat exchange between the incoming fresh air and the exhaust air in the heat exchanger 15 without additional heating or cooling. However, if the air temperature in the inner environment 3 cannot be controlled in this way, the heat pump 17 can be employed to obtain the required air temperature. The operation of the heat pump 17 can be reversed to either heat or cool the incoming fresh air to achieve the required air temperature in the inner environment 3, Figure 1 shows the heat pump 17 configured for a heating cycle so that the incoming fresh air is heated by the first heat exchange unit 21 after it has passed through the heat exchanger 15 in order to obtain the required air temperature in the inner environment 3 and the exhaust gas is cooled by the second heat exchange unit 23 after it has passed through the heat exchanger 15. Tn this arrangement, the four way valve 25 is configured to deliver refrigerant from the compressor 19 to the coil 21a of the first heat transfer unit 21 where heat is transferred from the refrigerant to the incoming fresh air thereby heating the air and cooling the refrigerant.

Refrigerant leaving the first heat transfer unit 21 passes via the check valve 21c and the expansion valve 23b to the coil 23a of the second heat transfer unit 23 where heat is transferred from the exhaust gas to the refrigerant thereby cooling the air and heating the refrigerant. Refrigerant leaving the second heat transfer unit 23 is returned via the four way valve to the compressor 19.

Figure 2 shows the heat pump 17 configured for a cooling cycle so that the incoming fresh air is cooled by the first heat exchange unit 21 after it has passed through the heat exchanger 15 in order to obtain the required air temperature in the inner environment 3 and the exhaust gas heated by the second heat exchange unit 23 after it has passed through the heat exchanger 15. In this arrangement, the four way valve 25 is configured to deliver refrigerant from the compressor 19 to the coil 23a of the second heat transfer unit 23 where heat is transferred from the refrigerant to the exhaust air thereby heating the air and cooling the refrigerant. Refrigerant leaving the second heat transfer unit 23 passes via the check valve 23c and the expansion valve 21b to the coil 21a of the first heat transfer unit 2 where heat is transferred from the incoming fresh air to the refrigerant thereby cooling the air and heating the refrigerant. Refrigerant leaving the first heat transfer unit 21 is returned via the four way valve 25 to the compressor 19, In the above-described modes of operation, air exhausted from the inner environment 3 is replaced by fresh air from the outer environment 5 and the heat exchanger 15 and/or heat pump 17 employed to control the temperature of the fresh air to achieve a required temperature in the inner environment 3. Replacing air exhausted from the inner environment 3 with fresh air from the outer environment 5 can also be employed to control the air quality in the inner environment, for example to reduce the concentration/level of carbon dioxide present in the air within the inner environment 3.

Referring now to Figure 3, there is shown another mode of operation of the apparatus in which the external inlet 7 is in communication with the internal outlet 13 and the internal inlet 11 is in communication with the external outlet 9. In this arrangement the apparatus includes a by-pass facility 27 and the flow paths are configured so that the incoming fresh air by-passes the heat exchanger 5 and/or heat pump 17 as indicated by arrow C. The by-pass may be provided by pipes, ducts or any suitable passageway (not shown). The flow path may be configured so that all the incoming fresh air by-passes the heat exchanger 5 and heat pump 17, for example to control the air quality in the inner environment 3 where heating or cooling of the incoming fresh air is not required. In another arrangement (not shown), the flow path may be configured so that some of the incoming fresh air by-passes the heat exchanger 5 and the rest of the incoming fresh air is heated or cooled by heat exchange with the exhaust air in the heat exchanger 15 and/or is heated or cooled by the heat pump Li as described previously and then re-combined with the incoming fresh air that has by-passed the heat exchanger 15, for example in a chamber 29 for discharge to the inner environment 3, for example to control the air quality and temperature in the inner environment 3, Referring now to Figure 4, there is shown another mode of operation of the apparatus that differs from the modes of operation shown in Figures 1 to 3 in that the external inlet 7 is in communication with the external outlet 9 and the internal inlet 11 is in communication with the internal outlet 13. In this arrangement, the flow paths are configured so that air in the inner and outer environments 3, 5 is re-circulated as indicated by arrows D and E. The flow paths are separate from each other and may be provided by pipes, ducts or any suitable passageway (not shown). The flow paths may be configured so that all the air is recirculated, for example where incoming fresh air is not required to control air quality in the inner environment 3, Recirculation of the air may be employed with operation of the heat pump Li and/or the heat exchanger IS as described previously to heat or cool the air to control air temperature in the inner environment 3. In another arrangement (not shown) the flow paths may be configured so that recirculated air is combined, for example in chamber 29, with incoming fresh air which can be heated or cooled by operation of the heat pump 17 and/or heat exchanger 15 as described previously.

Combining incoming fresh air with recirculated air can reduce the amount of fresh air to be heated or cooled for controlling the air temperature in the inner environment 3.

In Figures 1 to 4 the pipes or ducts forming the flow path are not shown for clarity. When switching between different modes of operation, the flow paths may be reconfigured according to the selected mode of operation by any suitable means (not shown) such as valves so that the air flows can follow the required paths through the apparatus according to the selected mode of operation.

The apparatus 1 may further include one or more filters for filtering incoming fresh air and/or for filtering re-circulated air. The filters may be provided at any position in the flow paths. In this embodiment, the external air inlet 7 is provided with two filters 31a, 31b for filtering incoming fresh air and the internal inlet 11 is provided with one filter 33 for filtering re-circulated air, It will be understood the number and arrangement of the filters may be altered from that shown. The filters may be chosen to remove one or more materials affecting air quality from the air flow including but not limited to particulates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrous oxides, fungae, spores, bacteria, pollen. The number and/or type of filters may be chosen according to requirements.

The apparatus 1 may further include a heater 35 for heating incoming fresh air, for example at low ambient temperatures to prevent icing. The heater 35 may be positioned in the flow path from the external inlet 7 upstream of the heat exchanger 15 and/or heat pump 17. The heater 35 may be an electric heater. The heater 35 may be set to operate automatically when the temperature is at or below a pre-determined temperature. The setting may be adjustable to alter the temperature at which the heater 35 is operable. Alternatively or additionally, the heater 35 may be operated manually.

The apparatus I may further include a humidifier 37 for controlling the humidity of the air in the inner environment 3. The humidifier 37 may be arranged to add steam and/or water at any position in the flow path to the internal air outlet t3. The humidifier 37 may be arranged downstream of the heat exchanger S and/or heat pump 17. The humidifier 37 may be set to operate automatically when the humidity is at or below a pre-determined level, The setting may be adjustable to alter the humidity at which the humidifier 37 is operable. Alternatively or additionally, the humidifier may be operated manually.

The apparatus 1 may further include one or more fans for controlling the flow rate of incoming fresh air and/or exhaust air and/or recirculated air.

The fans may be provided at any position in the air flow paths. The fans may be single speed or multi-speed. Multi-speed may be provided by having a range of different speed settings, for example 3, 5 or tO speeds or by having an infinitely variable speed control for setting any speed up to a maximum speed. The fans may be of any suitable type. The fans may be electric fans. In this embodiment, the external air outlet 9 is provided with a fan 39 and the internal air outlet 13 is provided with a fan 41. The fans 39, 41 may operate at the same speed or at different speeds.

Operating the fans 39, 41 at different pressures may be employed to alter the relative pressure between the inner environment 3 and the outer environment 5. For example a positive pressure may help cut pollutants and leakage.

The apparatus 1 has a controller 43 to control operation of the apparatus in the different operating modes according to the required climate in the inner environment 3, A user interface 45 may be provided remote from the apparatus in any suitable position in the inner environment 3 to be accessed by a user. The user interface 45 may be provided at a fixed location, for example on a wall, and/or may be provided in a portable hand held device. Alternatively or additionally the apparatus may be provided with a user interface 47 to be accessed by the user. The user interface 45, 47 may be in wired or wireless contact with the controller 43. The user interface 45, 47 may allow for programming the required climate settings so that the climate may vary over the course of the day, different days, different dates etc. For example, the temperature may be different for daytime and night time, working days and weekends etc. In other arrangements, the user interface 45, 47 may be omitted and the controller 43 may control the apparatus 1 based on pre-stored settings and/or settings provided by a central controller (not shown) that may be in wired or wireless contact with the controller 43. The apparatus 1 may include a sensor system for monitoring characteristics of the air flow through the apparatus such as temperature sensors, flow rate sensors, pressure sensors and/or for monitoring the climate in the inner environment 3, for example air temperature, air quality, humidity etc. The controller 43 may control operation of the apparatus in response to detected differences between the required climate and the monitored climate to operate the apparatus in the appropriate mode to achieve and maintain the required climate. One or more detectors (not shown) may be provided for detecting the presence of people in the inner environment 3 whereby the apparatus may be activated if one or more persons is detected and deactivated if no-one are detected.

The apparatus may be activated when one or more persons is detected for pre-determined period of time and dc-activated when no-one is detected for a pre-determined period of time, The apparatus may be operable during a period in which the inner environment is not occupied, for example during the night, to set required levels of any of temperature, air quality and humidity.

For example, if the detected air quality in the inner environment 3 is poor, such as a high concentration/level of carbon dioxide, the controller may configure the apparatus to replace air from the inner environment 3 with fresh air from the outer environment 5. The speed of the fans 39, 41 can be increased by the controller 43 so that the concentration/level of carbon dioxide is reduced to improve air quality in the inner environment 3 more rapidly and thereby reduce the time taken to return the air quality to the required level. Such operation may be combined with heating or cooling if the temperature of the air in inner environment also requires adjustment and/or with the addition of steam or water if the humidity of the air in the inner environment requires adjustment, Carbon dioxide is only one example of characteristics affecting air quality that may be controlled in this way. The sensor system may include one or more sensors capable of detecting any characteristic of air quality such as the concentration/level of carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds (VOC5), nitrous oxides, fungae, spores, bacteria, pollen, particulates etc in the air.

If the detected temperature in the inner environment 3 is too high or too low, the controller may configure the apparatus to cool or heat the air in the inner environment 3 to return the temperature to the required temperature such as by re-circulating the air if the air quality is acceptable or by replacing air from the inner environment with air from the outer environment if air quality in the inner environment also requires adjustment. Temperature sensors 49, 51 may be provided to monitor temperature of incoming air upstream and downstream of the heat exchanger IS and heat pump 17. The operating mode and/or speed of the fans 39, 4 may be adjusted in response to the detected temperatures for returning the temperature to the required level. Pressure sensors 53, 55 may be provided to monitor pressure either side of the filters to detect a reduction in flow indicating the filters may be blocked and required replacement.

Referring now to Figure 5, the apparatus 1 is shown installed in a concealed position. In this installation the apparatus is installed in a void or space 67 above a ceiling 69 of the inner environment 3 but it will be understood this is not limiting on the installation of the apparatus and that the apparatus could be installed in other locations, For example the apparatus could be installed in a void or space below the floor of the inner environment or in a cavity wall of the inner environment. Also installation of the apparatus is not limited to concealed locations and the apparatus could be mounted within the inner environment, for example on a wall.

The apparatus 1 may be suspended in the void or space by one or more supports 71 and connected to a power supply through connection 73, A duct 75a connects the internal air inlet 11 to a room inlet grille 77 in the suspended ceiling 69 and a further duct 75b connects the internal air outlet 13 to a room outlet grille 79 in the suspended ceiling 69, Similarly, a duct 75c connects the external air inlet 7 to a duct inlet 81 in the outer environment 5 and a further duct 75d connects the external air outlet 9 to a duct outlet 83 in the outer environment. The ducts 75c, 75d may extend through a wall 85 separating the inner environment 3 from the outer environment 5. The duct inlet 81 and outlet 83 may open directly to the outer environment 5 or may connect to centrally connecting ducting before connecting to the outer environment 5.

The apparatus I is self-contained and, apart from the connection to mains power and to air inlets and outlets, does not require any further connection to the building. This simplifies installation and eliminates the need for specialist fridge engineers on site when the apparatus is installed. Also servicing and maintenance is facilitated.

Each room of a building may be provided with its own apparatus. This ensures that each room can be treated as a standalone unit without having to design and install complicated duct or plant systems, and allows for easy customisation of buildings by assembling custom buildings from standard units. This provision allows for quick and easy onsite assembly of buildings from units that may be at least partially fabricated off-site.

Where there are a number of rooms each having its own apparatus, there are a number of different control options. Each room may be provided with a separate user interface 45, 47 and may be controlled separately. A central controller unit may also be provided in communication with the controllers 43 or individual user interfaces 45, 47 of each apparatus. The central controller may override the local user interface 45, 47 or vice versa, or the central controller may override the local user interface at certain times, whilst the local user interface may override the central controller at other times. Alternatively, the local user interfaces may be omitted and a central controller only may be relied on.

The apparatus addresses the problems of previous systems by providing a self-contained unit that can control the climate in an environment. The apparatus is simple to install and is ideal for use with all types of buildings including new buildings and refurbished buildings.

It will be understood that the invention is not limited to the embodiment described herein and that features of the apparatus may be altered, omitted or adapted according to the requirements of the unit. It will also be understood that the invention includes any novel feature described herein as well as combinations and sub-combinations of any of the features and equivalents thereof

Claims (24)

  1. CLAIMSL Apparatus for controlling the climate of an inner environment, the apparatus including a heat exchanger and a heat pump for controlling air temperature in the inner environment wherein the heat pump is reversifrie for heating or cooling air discharged into the inner environment.
  2. 2. Apparatus according to claim I wherein the heat exchanger is arranged to exchange heat between air flowing from the inner environment to an outer environment and air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment.
  3. 3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the air flowing from outer environment to the inner environment is heated or cooled depending on the relative temperature of the air in the inner and outer environments.
  4. 4. Apparatus according to claim 2 or claim 3 wherein a portion of the air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment is arranged to by-pass the heat exchanger and re-combine with the air flowing through the heat exchanger to the inner environment.
  5. 5. Apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein air quality in the inner environment is controlled by air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment to replace air flowing from the inner environment to the outer environment.
  6. 6. Apparatus according to claims wherein all of the air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment for controlling air quality in the inner environment is arranged to by-pass the heat exchanger if heating or cooling is not required in the inner environment.
  7. 7. Apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the heat pump is arranged to heat or cool air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment.
  8. 8. Apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the heat pump is arranged to heat or cool air received from the heat exchanger and/or by-passing the heat exchanger.
  9. 9. Apparatus any of claims I to 7 wherein the heat pump is arranged to heat or cool air re-circulated within the inner environment.
  10. 10. Apparatus according to any preceding claim including a humidifier for controlling humidity of the air in the inner environment.
  11. 1. Apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the humidifier is arranged to add steam or water to the air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment and/or to the air recirculated within the inner environment.
  12. 12. Apparatus according to any preceding claim including one or more filters for filtering air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment and/or for filtering air recirculated within the inner environment.
  13. 13. Apparatus according to claim 12 wherein a combination of two or more filters is employed depending on the type of material or materials to be removed from the air flow.
  14. 14. Apparatus according to any preceding claim including one or more fans for controlling flow rate of air flowing through the apparatus.
  15. 15. Apparatus according to claim 14 wherein two fans are provided, one fan arranged to control air flowing from the outer environment to the inner environment and/or air recirculated within the inner environment and the other fan arranged to control air flowing from the air inner environment to the outer environment and/or air recirculated within the outer environment.
  16. 16. Apparatus according to claim 14 or claim 15 wherein the fans are single speed or multi-speed.
  17. 17. Apparatus according to any preceding claim including a controller arranged to control operation of the apparatus to provide a required climate in the inner environment in response to a detected climate in the inner environment.
  18. 18. Apparatus according to claim 17 wherein a sensor system is arranged to detect the climate in the inner environment.
  19. 19. Apparatus according to claim 18 wherein the sensor system includes one or more sensors for detecting a characteristic of the climate in the inner environment.
  20. 20. Apparatus according to any of claims 17 to 19 wherein a user interface is provided to allow a user to provide desired climate conditions.
  21. 21. Apparatus according to any of claims 18 to 20 wherein the user interface and/or sensor system is in wireless or wired communication with the controller.
  22. 22. Apparatus according to claim 20 or 21 wherein the controller is arranged such that the apparatus is controlled locally by the user interface.
  23. 23. Apparatus according to any of claims 20 to 22 wherein the controller is arranged such that the apparatus is controlled by a central controller arranged to control the apparatus and at least one further apparatus provided in a different inner environment.
  24. 24. Apparatus according to claim 23 wherein the central controller is in wired or wireless communication with the controller of each apparatus.
GB1412018.2A 2014-07-06 2014-07-06 Apparatus Pending GB2528642A (en)

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NL2023221B1 (en) * 2019-05-28 2020-12-07 C&M Holding B V Ventilation climate system and method for controlling a ventilation climate system

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