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Instead of using a refrigerant to cool the coil, like direct expansion systems, chilled water HVAC systems use cool water which is pumped throughout the building.
Components known as chillers make use of a vapour compression/expansion cycle for the liquid refrigerant. This works by continuously transforming the refrigerant from liquid to vapour, and back again – a process which cools down the refrigerant which passes through an evaporator.
The primary function of chilled water units is to transport cooling fluid from the chillers to the load terminals and back again. This ensures that that thermal envelope is maintained.
Then, cool air is transferred to the occupied spaces via the terminal devices located in the building or by making use of coils found in air handling units. Air temperature control is made possible with automatic valves at the terminal devices.