College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Iowa State energy study proves fabric HVAC duct efficiency over metal systems

Mechanical engineers always suspected that fabric HVAC ductwork is more energy efficient than its metal duct counterpart, but now three members of the Iowa State University’s Mechanical Engineering Department have proven an overwhelming 24.5-percent efficiency differential.

The 10-month-long study, “Thermal Comparison Between Ceiling Diffusers and Fabric Ductwork Diffusers for Green Buildings” proved fabric duct heats rooms faster and more uniformly to satisfy temperature set points versus metal duct/diffusers, which results in reduced mechanical equipment runtime, thus saving energy in the process.

The study is now available free at <> .  It has also been published in Energy and Building Magazine,New York, an international journal of research applied to energy efficiency in the built environment.

The majority of its funding came from the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va., and the Iowa State Institute for Physical Research and Technology, the latter which fosters the development of green technologies, such as fabric ductwork diffusion.

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