Dehumidification Enhancement of Direct Expansion Systems through Component Augmentation of the Cooling Coil
Diverse air conditioning products with enhanced dehumidification features are being introduced to meet the increased moisture laden ventilation air requirements of ASHRAE Standard 62 in humid climates. In this evaluation, state point performance spreadsheet models for single path, mixed air packaged systems compare a conventional "off the shelf" direct expansion (DX) cooling system and its performance to systems that augment the DX coil with enhanced dehumidification components, such as heat exchangers and desiccant dehumidifiers. Using common performance metrics for comparisons at ARI rating conditions, these alternative systems define a best practice for enhanced dehumidification performance. The state point performance spreadsheet models combine available algorithms from the EnergyPlus™ simulation program for DX coils and heat exchangers with newly developed algorithms for desiccant dehumidifiers. All the models and their algorithms are applied in EnergyPlus™ for simulations of annual system cooling performance, including sensible and latent loads met, energy consumed, and humidity levels maintained, in select building types and climatic locations. Per this EnergyPlus™ analysis, these enhanced dehumidification systems present challenging decision-making tradeoffs between humidity control improvements over conventional DX systems, condensing (compressor) unit energy consumption reductions versus DX cool and reheat approaches, and fan energy use increases due to the additional component pressure drops.