Ambient energy sources, including ambient air, ground and night sky, have potential for space cooling. The night sky offers the lowest temperature and, therefore, the greatest potential across most of the US. Compared to a previous analysis that considered only the sensible cooling load, the objective of this new project was to evaluate the potential of night-sky radiation (NSR) to also serve the latent cooling load. ASHRAE standard 55 was used to establish the comfort limits (22°C for room temperature and 60% relative humidity). Condensation was evaluated as the mechanism for humidity reduction, thus the dew-point temperature, 13.9°C, corresponding to the ASHRAE limits was the maximum target temperature for night-sky cooling. Typical meteorological year (TMY3) weather data was used for eleven locations representing ASHRAE climate zones. Building heat gain, infiltration/ventilation requirements and night-sky radiator size were characterized by a load-to-radiator ratio LRR defined as the infiltration/ventilation volume flow rate times the ratio of building floor area to radiator area. Three values of LRR were evaluated: 0.35, 3.5 and 35 m/hr. Three thermal storage cases were considered: 1. Annual NSR cooling potential (seasonal storage), 2. Diurnal storage, and 3. The minimum storage capacity to serve the entire annual load, as well as the effects of capacity less than the minimum. To evaluate the effect of night-sky radiator temperature on storage capacity, six NSR temperatures Trad = 13.9 to −26.1°C were tested. Results showed that even in Miami, FL (the most challenging climate evaluated), annual NSR potential exceeded the total sensible and latent cooling load, at least for the lowest LRR and highest Trad. For diurnal storage, NSR could serve less than 20% of the load in the hot and humid southeast, but the entire load in the mountain west. The minimum storage capacity to meet the entire annual load corresponds to the capacity required to bridge the span of time without NSR availability during which the largest cooling load occurs. This capacity decreases with decreasing LRR and decreasing Trad. For the southeast, large capacity is required, but for Louisville, for instance, sufficient capacity is provided by the equivalent of as little as 0.05 m of water over the floor area of the building for LRR = 0.35 m/hr. These results demonstrate that for much of the US, night-sky radiation has the potential to serve the entire annual sensible and latent cooling load.

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