Heating and cooling high rise buildings presents difficulties not encountered with structures that have fewer stories. For example, as the building increases in height, the air temperature outside the building decreases and the wind speed increases, which can impact the ambient temperatures inside as well as operation of outdoor equipment. Skyscrapers above 60 stories high have the most difficulty with this issue. Also remember that heat rises, so heating and cooling requirements for the upper floors can be quite different than the lower floors. The high rise HVAC system must be capable of accommodating the varying conditions throughout the building.
Tall buildings also use a great deal of energy simply because of their size. When you consider that as much as 30 percent or more of a building’s energy usage is consumed by the air conditioning system, it’s no wonder that developers want the most efficient high rise HVAC systems they can find. That’s one area where the traditional choices for high rise HVAC have fallen short.
Another problem is space. Space is such a valuable commodity, no one wants to waste it on space to house high rise HVAC systems. Developers want to minimize plant areas and maximize salable living space, and residents don’t want to give up high ceilings or closets to heating and air conditioning ductwork or equipment.