Underfloor air distribution (UFAD) is a method of delivering space conditioning in offices and other commercial buildings that uses the open space (underfloor plenum) between the structural concrete slab and the underside of a raised access floor system to deliver conditioned air directly into the occupied zone of the building. Air can be delivered through a variety of supply outlets located at floor level (most common), or as part of the furniture and partitions.
UFAD systems have several potential advantages over traditional overhead systems, including improved thermal comfort, improved indoor air quality, and possible reduced energy use. By combining a building's heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with all major power, voice, and data cabling into one easily accessible service plenum under the raised floor, significant improvements can be realized in terms of increased flexibility and reduced costs associated with reconfiguring building services. These raised floor systems are particularly appropriate for office buildings with extensive use of information technologies and high reconfiguration rates.
With UFAD systems, conditioned air from the air-handling unit (AHU) is ducted into the underfloor plenum where it typically flows freely to the supply outlets. As compared to a conventional overhead system, underfloor systems are generally configured to have a relatively large number of smaller supply outlets, many in close proximity to the building occupants. Outlets may be floor diffusers or, particularly when part of a task/ambient conditioning (TAC) system, desktop or partition outlets equipped with individual control. If the outlets are adjustable, this arrangement provides an opportunity for nearby occupants to have some amount of control over thermal comfort conditions in their local environment.
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