Friday, June 22, 2018

Is business looking up for engineers and architects?

More and more, architects and design engineers are looking to the ceiling for inspiration. Not staring upwards because they don’t know what to do next, but because they do. Today, they know that chilled beams can be an inspiring solution to providing excellent and economical comfort in the buildings they’re designing or renovating. 

For many years, cooling and heating in public spaces was provided by heating coils or AC units and vents, or by water-filled radiators. We’ve all seen — and probably heard — old, clunky systems with fans that sounded like aircraft taking off, or old water radiators that made strange gurgling or knocking noises. No more. Today, we have efficient, economical and above all comfortable climate control in our public spaces. Look up and find the chilled beam. 

The popularity of chilled beam heating and cooling systems really began in Australia and in Europe, based on their efficiency and efficacy. For one reason or another, we’ve been a little slower to adopt the system here in North America, even though it was first introduced almost a half century ago. Today, however, chilled beams are hot, even if that’s a strange way of putting it. 

Active or passive?

There are two main types of chilled beam — passive and active — and Titus makes both of these. Describing the difference in detail between active and passive can be complicated, but the short version is that it all depends on the way the systems treat airflow and the introduction and control of outside, fresh air. 

In active systems, fresh air is continuously supplied to the chilled beam itself for ventilation. The supply of ventilation air creates induction, which pulls room air over water coils in the chilled beam, cooling the air and providing comfort to the room. Passive chilled beams deliver comfort using natural convection and use a separate fresh air system for ventilation. Downward flows of cool air mix with ambient air. The warmed air in the room rises and is then cooled by the coil in the beam, and the cycle begins again. Fresh air is introduced using a separate air handling unit (AHU). 

There are also integrated chilled beam systems — such as the new Titus product, VENTUS LUX — which combine the advantages of an active chilled beam system with the benefits of LED lighting to deliver heating and cooling together with lighting in a single, economical package. The exciting new VENTUS LUX system is a breakthrough in chilled beam technology and is beginning to enjoy a great deal of interest from architects and engineers busy with new construction, particularly from those working with retrofit projects. 

Looking sideways, too

In addition to ceiling-mounted systems, we produce displacement chilled beam units that combine the best of chilled beam technology and displacement ventilation. These units are mounted at the floor level around building or room perimeters, and are particularly suited for zones where the heating load is heavy. Placement examples are high-density rooms or areas in schools or in healthcare facilities, delivering the highest levels of clean, comfortable air where the demand is greatest.

Comfort is key

As you may know, if there’s one thing that we, at Titus, like to obsess about, it’s occupant comfort. That’s what all our systems are designed to deliver. Of course, we also think about economy, efficiency, sustainability, and practicality. At the end of the day, though, our systems have to deliver comfort. If they don’t, then we’ve failed in our mission. Luckily, the good news is that we’ve succeeded in our declared goals for the past 70-plus years, and we’re still going from strength to strength. 

So with chilled beam systems, the options available to architects and engineers — and owners, too — are definitely looking up. It may have taken us a little time here in North America to get up to speed, compared with counterparts down under and across the pond, but we’re making up for lost time. Chilled beam systems are now delivering comfort to more and more public spaces in our neck of the woods. Plus, when it comes to developing the current and coming generation of chilled beam systems, Titus is right there at the forefront. 

For more information about our full range of chilled beam products, talk to your Titus representative, or explore our website. You may also enjoy our podcast — Titus Timeout — where you’ll find brief episodes that cover many things HVAC, including chilled beam.

Until next time,

Jenny Abney Sivie, LEED AP BD+C - Director of Advanced Business Development, Titus HVAC

This article as written can be found on LinkedIn's website For information on this topic, please contact Jenny Sivie at or Titus Communications at