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Paris building becomes home to first semiconductor-based HVAC system

8th December 2023

An historic French office building has been retrofitted with a semiconductor-based heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system which will reduce both emissions and costs, the manufacturers claim.

Helsinki-based indoor air solutions company Halton Group and North Carolina-based semiconductor-based cooling solutions firm Phononic jointly developed the system, which has been fitted at Pierre Charron, a 102,257 sq ft office and retail building in Paris built in 1877.

The partners said this was the first installation of a semiconductor-based HVAC system which heats and cools an entire property. “We have an entirely new HVAC technology which helps property owners meet increasingly stringent climate goals,” said Anu Saxén, managing director at Halton.

The new technology will reduce energy use and carbon emissions by approximately 15%, and costs by about 20% compared with traditional systems, Halton and Phononic said.

"We wanted to provide our tenants with comfortable and environmentally sustainable spaces. This technology is an ideal solution for our purpose," says Francois Menage, CEO of Balzac REIM, which owns the building.

Installation of the new TTAP system

The system uses Terminal Treatment of Air with Peltier (TTAP) technology. When current is applied to the semiconductor-made Peltier cell, one side heats up, and the other cools down. This thermoelectronic phenomenon is used for temperature control in electronics and small coolers but has not previously been applied to a large-scale HVAC system.

Devices containing Peltier cells circulate air with their own fans, causing the air in a room to be either cooled or warmed. Fresh air from the ventilation unit flows into the space through the device.

"Cooling and heating often consume over 40% of the energy used in commercial buildings, so the industry is actively exploring ways to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. The announcement of the first TTAP project is a truly exciting moment for us," said Tony Atti, CEO of Phononic.

Halton and Phononic said the system was 20% cheaper than traditional HVAC systems over the building's lifecycle. Savings will be achieved, among other things, by not having cooling water networks, and using smaller water chillers. Fewer moving parts will mean lower maintenance costs.

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