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Individual air conditioning ‘could save energy’ on burns units

Individual air conditioning systems could have significant energy benefits for burns units, not only for patients, but also for the healthcare professionals treating them.

That is the claim made in an article in the latest issue of the International Journal of Exergy.

Saving energy benefits patients and healthcare professionals

‘Exergy’ is similar to energy – both are measured in joules – but whereas energy cannot generally be created or destroyed, any process with a temperature change is thought of as having destroyed some exergy, due to the one-directional nature of entropy.

Minimising the destroyed exergy in a ‘LowEx’ system makes it more efficient – and the researchers argue that individual air conditioning is the way to do this in hospital burns units.

Humidity and temperature monitoring in individual rooms or cubicles would enable this, rather than trying to maintain conditions throughout entire hospital buildings.

The researchers write: “Conventional heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are designed in most cases as interventions in active spaces, based on the requirements of an average user, and are not suitable for the selected individual user.”

Temperature and humidity monitoring to play a crucial role

Individual cooling could save as much as three quarters of the energy used, and individual heating could save around one quarter, the study found.

Accurate temperature and humidity monitoring would likely play a crucial part in this, ensuring that the real-world conditions were as close as possible to those requested at control panels, to avoid any unnecessary inefficiency.