Air cycle refrigeration in buildings 
the green alternative 

  Air - a green refrigerant 
Air cycle refrigeration  
Air cycles in buildings 
Sector challenge project
Special interest groups  
The partners 
Links to other alternative cooling sites


Environmental concerns about ozone depletion and global warming caused by the use of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs in building refrigeration systems have renewed interest in alternative refrigeration cycles.  One such alternative is the air cycle which uses air itself in a gas compression cycle to produce cooling. 

Although air is harmless air cycles are inherently less energy efficient than conventional vapour compression refrigeration systems.  However, recent research by BRE and the Food Research and Process Engineering Research Centre (FRPERC) at the University of Bristol has shown that in certain situations air cycle refrigeration systems could provide simultaneous cooling and heating in buildings with better energy efficiency than conventional cooling and heating systems. 


Sector Challenge Project  

 BRE and FRPERC are collaborating with a number of industry partners in a Sector Challenge Project to promote the commercial exploitation of air cycle technology within the UK construction sector. Particular emphasis will be placed on small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Sector Challenge is a DTI initiative aimed at promoting the competitiveness of UK industry and businesses by improving their capabilities and competencies. 

The project has the following broad objectives: 

  • To establish a building air cycle interest group to bring together construction sector businesses, air cycle manufacturers and specialist consultants. 
  • To construct and demonstrate a working building air cycle system. 
  • To carry out a market and life cycle cost study for building air cycle systems. 
  • To promote air cycle technology through a series of workshops, seminars and technical articles. 
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Further information 


For further information about the project contact David Butler at BRE: 
tel: 01923 664763 
fax: 01923 664088 

For information about joining the Building Air Cycle Group contact Judith Evans at FRPERC: 
tel: 0117 928 9280 
fax: 0117 928 9314 

Last Updated:  30 March 2000 
Arron Perry, BRE