Can water be used to help keep HVAC costs down? See how chilled beams have had success in Europe

by Brianna Crandall — October 13, 2017 — According to a new report from London-based Future Market Insights, the technology behind “chilled beams” has been with us for years; however, during the last decade this technology has gained prominence. Chilled beam technology offers energy savings, mechanical noise reduction and improved indoor air quality.

While the technology has been used in commercial space in Europe for more than a decade, it is just beginning to take root in the United States. Increasingly stringent energy efficiency targets laid down by continually changing legislation as well as more energy-conscious consumers are said to be primarily fueling the chilled beam system market.

Chilled beams are the hydronic heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) components — not the building structural elements — that circulate chilled or heated water and are designed to induce room air flow to cool or heat the space. Chilled beams get their name from their typically long and slender shape.

Chilled beams and chilled ceilings are water-based systems, which makes them environmentally attractive, particularly as the use of synthetic refrigerants in air-conditioning is under greater scrutiny than ever with the advent of ozone-depleting substances legislation, notes the report. With a range of recent energy-saving legislation and new chilled technologies being developed, both chilled beams and chilled ceilings have captured more interest.

Chilled beams and ceilings work using convection rather than radiation and hence offer significant advantages over the alternative air-conditioning technologies, according to the report. In addition to the advantage of lower energy consumption for chilled beams and chilled ceilings, life-cycle costs of a complete unit are lower than that of fan coil units. As there are no moving parts, they are also said to be more reliable and less noisy, as well as maintenance free, with a longer life expectancy.

Chilled beam system market: Drivers and restraints

Rising sustainability concerns, increasing infrastructure investments, awareness towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and government regulations promoting energy-efficient systems are some of the key factors driving the growth of the chilled beam system market.

The technology has still not achieved its full potential and is often overlooked for projects where it would be the best suitable system, according to the report. This is primarily due to the lack of knowledge and understanding across the building sector, and has flagged up the need for a better flow of information between suppliers, consulting engineers, architects and contractors.

Water distribution and high dust levels are probable factors restraining the growth of the chilled beam system market.

Market segmentation

The global chilled beam system market is broadly classified on the basis of product type, applications and geographies.

Based on application, the global chilled beam system market is segmented into:

  • Commercial Offices
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals

Based on product type, the global chilled beam system market is segmented into:

  • Active chilled beam systems
  • Passive chilled beam systems
  • Multi-service chilled beam systems

Market overview

Although the chilled beam system is a new technology for emerging economies like India, the same technology has been in use in Europe for years. The use of active chilled beams is ramping up in North America.

With rapid urbanization and the increasing pressure for building energy efficiency, chilled beam system technology is gaining in popularity. The global chilled beam system market is expected to expand at a promising compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period (2015-2025).

Regional market outlook

The global chilled beam system market is expected to register a double-digit CAGR for the forecast period. As of 2015, Europe dominated the global chilled beam system market in terms of market revenue, followed by North America. Asia Pacific and Japan are projected to expand at a substantial growth and contribute to the global chilled beam system market value, exhibiting a robust CAGR during the forecast period, 2015-2025.

Key players

Some of the key market participants in the global chilled beam system market are: Frenger Systems, Mestek Inc., Price Industries, TROX and Fläkt Woods.

A sample of the report is available free upon brief registration on the FMI Web site, and the complete Chilled Beam System Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025 is available for purchase from the site.