Innovative HVAC system to be installed at Golden 1 Center


NBA team, the Sacramento Kings, will install an innovative displacement ventilation system at its future new home, the Golden 1 Center. Tied to the heating and cooling the building, the new system will be the first of its kind at a major league facility.

According to Alastair MacGregor, a vice president with Aecom, the arena’s architect, the system’s air conditioning unit will flow from beneath the seating bowl to deliver a more efficient method of cooling the building’s interior. “In most arenas, cool air comes from the top of the building, forcing its way down to the bowl, where it collides with warmer air created by the body heat of thousands of fans. Essentially, the two sources of air flow push against each other, wasting energy, and resulting in a less efficient system.”

By comparison, the displacement ventilation system, powered by a smaller chiller, provides cooler air at a lower velocity with fewer electrical fans required. The system is designed to provide a better environment for arena patrons, both in thermal comfort and air quality.

For smaller events such as high school and college graduations using half the lower bowl, the system’s design has the flexibility to cool only the space being used, thus extending its efficiency.

“How many times have you been to a sports event and the venue is really cold when you arrive, and when you leave, it’s on the verge of being uncomfortably warm?” said MacGregor. “The reason for that is the HVAC systems pre-cool the buildings to take advantage of that 5-7° swing.”

Additional ductwork is required over conventional systems, but, according to MacGregor, the Kings expect to recoup those expenses long term through energy efficiency and fan comfort.

A weather pattern unique to Sacramento and the arena’s grand entrance will integrate with the ventilation system. At night, a sea breeze coming in from the southwest, cools the city by 10-15°. The intent is to capture those breezes through use of the glass doors forming the arena’s primary entrance — measuring 50ft tall and 15ft wide — to help reduce the team’s reliance on the overall ventilation system.

The US$477m Golden 1 Center, named for a statewide credit union, is expected to open in October 2016.

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