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Over 700 Ability Fan Coil Units Installed in Phase 1B of Prestigious Masdar Institute Project


The installation of Ability Projects fan coil units has now been completed for phase 1B of the Masdar Institute complex in Abu Dhabi. The contract, involving more than 700 Matrix II EC horizontal and vertical fan coil units represents the second large order that Ability projects has fulfilled for this innovative six square kilometre development designed by Foster and Partners, which seeks to use 100% renewable energy, be carbon neutral and generate zero waste.

Phase 1B of the development involved the installation of 2-pipe, cooling only units (with capacities between 1.3 and 3kW) in mixed residential, laboratory, offices and classrooms for the Masdar University applications. Control of the units’ fresh air inlets and outlets was provided by Ability via damper actuators, which regulate supply and extract based on enthalpy, Vin card entry and occupancy levels within the rooms. This system acts in the manner of a room controller and also takes into account the effects of equipment such as cooker hood etc. In addition, each room is fitted with its own dedicated LCD touch display unit to interface with the complex BACnet building regulation system.

Seventeen further Ability Matrix II EC fan coil units are installed in a local field station, situated adjacent to bore holes, which bring hot water to the system and utilise it for cooling purposes via absorption chillers.

The unique feature of Matrix EC fan coil units is their capability to independently adjust the air volume delivered by each duct on the same unit. This gives Masdar designers the option of using a single unit to condition two spaces, where in the past two units might have been required. This feature, combined with the energy savings afforded by EC motors, makes Matrix fan coil units the natural choice for such an energy conscious project.

The units at Masdar employ both demand and occupancy dependent fan speed control — developments first marketed by Ability in 2005. Demand dependent fan speed allows the fan speed and therefore the air volume, to vary commensurate with thermal demand. The upper limit would (in the past) have been the design fan speed and the lower limit is a percentage reduction determined by the designer.

Occupancy dependent control is a feature whereby the fan coil set points are allowed to move apart and adopt a holding strategy while the space remains unoccupied. With both features operating in tandem, the fan coil is activated only when personnel enter the room, at which point the fan speed imperceptibly modulates to deal with the current cooling load and no more. On Phase 1B of the Masdar project many units also receive control signals from window switches, enthalpy sensors, time clocks and key cards.

Whist Masdar City exploits the best of modern technologies, surpassing the highest standards currently demanded by internationally recognised organisations, its design also incorporates many traditional design techniques to help reduce energy consumption still further. Shaded walkways and narrow streets reduce glare and solar gain while the diagonal orientation of the urban layout makes the best use of cooling night breezes and lessens the effects of hot daytime winds. Other traditional features such as wind towers and solar shades help further improve comfort levels.

The Masdar Institute offers Master’s and Doctoral level degree programs focusing on the science and engineering of advanced energy and sustainable technologies. It has set its sights on being the centre of high calibre renewable energy and sustainability research, capable of attracting researchers and scientists from around the world.

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