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Last edited 04 Aug 2022
BREEAM Free Cooling
Free cooling is promoted via BREEAM as it can reduce the need for mechanical cooling systems providing an energy and carbon saving. It can result in simpler building operation and easier maintenance. It can also contribute to reducing overheating for adaptation to climate change.
- Reduced energy consumption due to less cooling being required
- Increased thermal comfort for building occupants
 When to consider
In order to achieve this element of the credit the Passive Design Analysis credit must first be achieved. The passive design analysis must include an analysis of free cooling and identify opportunities for the implementation of free cooling solutions.
- Night time cooling
- Ground coupled air cooling
- Displacement ventilation (not linked to any active cooling system)
- Ground water cooling
- Surface water cooling
- Evaporative cooling, direct or indirect
- Desiccant dehumidification and evaporative cooling, using waste heat
- Absorption cooling, using waste heat
- The building does not require any significant form of active cooling or mechanical ventilation (i.e.. naturally ventilated).
This is generally carried out via dynamic simulation modelling with the free cooling energy demand compared with a mechanical system and the associated energy savings reported. This will require the engineer to run two models - one the proposed design and the other a baseline to measure savings. The details of both should be included within the model report.
 Questions to ask while seeking compliance
 Tips and best practice
Free cooling appraisal can typically be assessed using dynamic simulation modelling such as IES or TAS. This type of analysis is generally over and above what is carried out as part of the simulation duties on a project so needs to be included and assigned to the appropriate design team member.
 Typical evidence
As Design Stage
 Applicable Schemes
The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.
- UK New Construction 2014
--Sarah Peterson 15:24, 20 Feb 2018 (BST)
--Tom Blois-Brooke 16:34, 01 Jul 2019 (BST)
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