Reheat Reduction Strategies and Their Applicability for Labs

Jagan Pillai, Atelier Ten
Rushil Desai, Atelier Ten

Conditioning and distributing ventilation air is often the most energy intensive process in laboratory buildings. In most laboratories background air change rate or fume hood exhaust rates drive the space air flow requirement (much higher than airflow required for cooling). In such laboratories, a large amount of energy is expended in reheating the supply air. This is because, the air is cooled down to below 55F for dehumidification, and because of the large supply air volume, the air is then reheated to maintain comfort conditions in the space.

The authors have worked on several projects where reheat energy has been significantly reduced or provided more efficiently using alternative strategies such as dual wheel systems, wrap-around coils, and heat recovery chillers. Depending on the specifics of the project, these strategies have shown benefit in terms of both energy and system size optimization. The paper will include a discussion on the various advantages and limitations that the authors came across while analyzing and designing these systems for laboratory projects.

To understand the wider applicability of these reheat reduction strategies, the authors will also analyze their effectiveness in airflow driven laboratory buildings for different climate zones. The paper will discuss the results from these different models and provide conclusions as to which could be used for early phase design considerations, based on constraints on cost and design limitations.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand various reasons for reheat energy in labs
  • learn different ways of reducing/eliminating reheat in laboratories
  • Lean about the effectiveness of reheat reduction strategies in different climate zones and other benefits which comes with implementing these strategies
  • learn the various limitations (cost and design) associated with implementing reheat reduction strategies discussed in this paper


As an Associate at Atelier Ten, Jagan is an expert in the application of building energy analysis, including optimization of mechanical, and electrical system design for high-performance laboratory buildings. Jagan holds a M.S. in Mech. Engg. from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a B.S. in Mech. Engg. from the University of Mumbai, India. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado, LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Energy Manager.

As an Environmental Designer at Atelier Ten, Rushil is interested in net-zero energy, building to grid interoperability, and measurement and verification. He brings expertise resulting from a diverse set of experiences in energy engineering, net-zero energy and sustainability. Rushil holds a B.Tech. and M.Tech. in Energy Engg. from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and a M.S. in Energy Science, Technology & Policy with a concentration in Civil & Environmental Engg. from Carnegie Mellon.


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