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Introduction to the HVAC Chilled Beam System

An air terminal chilled beam is a kind of convection HVAC system that is designed to heat or cool large buildings. It is an alternative to a conventional VAV system which draws a line between dehumidification and ventilation. Copper tubing and aluminum fins are used in its production process. It is housed in a sheet metal enclosure and is usually positioned at ceiling level.

Chilled beam systems are mainly seen in three variations: active, passive and integrated or multi-service beams. The active chilled beam and passive chilled beams differ from each other in terms of the way air flow and fresh air is taken into the space. On the hand integrated or multi service beam includes sprinkler, openings, lighting, speakers, cable pathways etc.

How it functions?

Chilled beam system aims to reduce excessive fan energy and rely on reheat. It plays the role of a radiator chilled by recirculated water. Chilled beams are used to cool down warm air when it rises. The cooled air falls back on the floor where the cycle starts over. When it comes to passive chilled beam, they need ventilation air to be delivered by a distinct air handling system. In case of active beam, the ventilation air is transferred to the beam by a central air handling system through ductwork.


  • Chilled beam systems do not require any mechanical room or large ductwork due to which space can be maximized and the floor to floor height can also be reduced
  • They are faster than the VAV systems as they do not have any moving part and also come with an easy to maintain facility
  • This particular system is designed with a better air distribution pattern which offers a better thermal comfort for you
  • This system helps minimize the fan usage which ultimately saves energy.


  • Many MEP engineers are still not well aware of this Chilled beam system
  • They are more expensive than the conventional VAV system and the price difference is even more than 15%. They are generally manufactured overseas and hard to obtain which is one of the reasons behind its high costs.
  • The process of positioning child beams is not that easy. There should be enough space between the top of the passive beam and the bottom of the structure to ensure the free movement of the warm air through the heat exchangers cooling fins. They must be strictly kept away from printers, copy machines etc as these machines offset the cool air from the beam.
  • The surface temperature of the chilled beam has to be kept under the cooling range. This is because an excessively cold surface temperature can lead to condensation. There is a cooling limit of chilled beams which should not be exceeded.

Where it works

These systems are suitable for places where the air conditioning system is sized depending on cooling and heating loads instead of ventilation. These systems also work well in places where thermal comfort is necessary.

EB air terminal chilled beams offer excellent thermal comfort, energy efficiency and proper utilization of space due to high heat capacity of water used as a heat transferring medium.

EBAirControl ia a leading manufacturer and supplier of HVAC products for critical environment air movement, and air management solutions in Canada, USA, Asia, Africa.

ebair_wpIntroduction to the HVAC Chilled Beam System

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