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  • Performance Analysis of a Modular Small-Diameter Air Distribution System Andrew Poerschke IBACOS, Inc. Armin Rudd ABT Systems, LLC

    March 2016

  • NOTICE

    This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, subcontractors, or affiliated partners makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or any agency thereof.

    Available electronically at SciTech Connect http:/www.osti.gov/scitech

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  • iii

    Performance Analysis of a Modular Small-Diameter Air Distribution System

    Prepared for:

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory

    On behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program

    Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

    15013 Denver West Parkway

    Golden, CO 80401

    NREL Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308

    Prepared by:

    Andrew Poerschke

    IBACOS, Inc.

    2214 Liberty Avenue

    Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    Armin Rudd

    ABT Systems, LLC

    726 E. Maple Street

    Annville, PA 17003

    NREL Technical Monitor: Stacey Rothgeb

    Prepared under Subcontract No. KNDJ-0-40341-05

    March 2016

  • iv

    The work presented in this report does not represent performance of any product relative to regulated minimum efficiency requirements.

    The laboratory and/or field sites used for this work are not certified rating test facilities. The conditions and methods under which products were characterized for this work differ from standard rating conditions, as described.

    Because the methods and conditions differ, the reported results are not comparable to rated product performance and should only be used to estimate performance under the measured conditions.

  • v

    Contents List of Figures ............................................................................................................................................ vi List of Tables ............................................................................................................................................. vii Definitions ................................................................................................................................................. viii Executive Summary ................................................................................................................................... ix 1 Introduction and Background ............................................................................................................. 1

    1.1 Background ..........................................................................................................................2 2 Mathematical and Modeling Methods ................................................................................................. 5

    2.1 Mockup System and Load Sizing ........................................................................................5 2.2 Empirical Airflow Characterization .....................................................................................5

    3 Research and Experimental Methods ................................................................................................ 8 3.1 Research Questions ..............................................................................................................8 3.2 Technical Approach .............................................................................................................8 3.3 Air Handling Unit, Plenum, and Duct Runout Configurations and Construction ...............8

    3.3.1 Air Handling Unit ....................................................................................................8 3.3.2 Supply Air Plenums .................................................................................................9 3.3.3 Duct Runouts .........................................................................................................10

    3.4 Measurements ....................................................................................................................11 3.4.1 Measurement of Differential Pressure ...................................................................12 3.4.2 Measurement of Total System Airflow ..................................................................12 3.4.3 Measurement and Calculation of Runout Duct Airflow ........................................12 3.4.4 Airflow Visualization.............................................................................................12 3.4.5 Measurement of Sound Level ................................................................................12 3.4.6 Measurement of Air Handling Unit Power ............................................................13

    3.5 Equipment ..........................................................................................................................13 4 Results ................................................................................................................................................. 14

    4.1 Baseline System .................................................................................................................14 4.2 As-Installed Example Mockup ..........................................................................................20 4.3 Measured Results and Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual D ....................24 4.4 Airflow Visualization.........................................................................................................25

    5 Discussion ........................................................................................................................................... 30 6 Conclusions ........................................................................................................................................ 32 References ................................................................................................................................................. 35 Appendix A: Flow Sensor Calibration ..................................................................................................... 37 Appendix B: Test Volumetric Flow Rate and Velocity Data .................................................................. 39

  • vi

    List of Figures Figure 1. A small-diameter manifold (left) versus a traditional, centrally ducted system (right) ....... 2 Figure 2. Velocity profile for round duct ................................................................................................... 7 Figure 3. Using an adjustable-hole saw to cut the manifold outlets ..................................................... 9 Figure 4. A CNC router carving plenum boxes ...................................................................................... 10 Figure 5. Testing a side outlet manifold configuration ......................................................................... 11 Figure 6. Duct testing mockup for an example case, showing the duct numbers ............................. 11 Figure 7. Diagram of duct runout modifications .................................................................................... 14 Figure 8. Duct airflow deviation for 2-in. manifold boxes—Box 1 (top) and Box 2 (bottom) ............ 15 Figure 9. Duct airflow deviation for 2-in. manifold boxes—Box 3 (top) and Box 4 (bottom) ............ 16 Figure 10. Duct airflow deviation for 2.5-in. manifold boxes—Box 5 (top) and Box 6 (bottom) ....... 17 Figure 11. Duct airflow deviation for 2.5-in. manifold boxes—Box 7 (top) and Box 8 (bottom) ....... 18 Figure 12. Duct airflow deviation for MSHP manifold boxes—Box 9 (top) and Box 10 (bottom) ..... 19 Figure 13. Example house floor plan for mockup (second floor of the home) ................................... 20 Figure 14. Airflow deviation of the mockup duct system relative to duct length ............................... 21 Figure 15. Example system delivered energy ........................................................................................ 22 Figure 16. Measured duct pressure versus airflow relationship and common fan curves ............... 23 Figure 17. Mockup duct syst