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Cinemark Theaters, a pioneer in the theatrical exhibition industry, selected a Munters EPX, indirect evaporative cooling system to deliver conditioned outside air for their new, all-digital, “NextGen” cinema design concept.
By incorporating the EPX as part of the total HVAC system design for the building, the theater not only provides comfortable air and gives a 35% better performance than California’s Title 24-2008 requires, but also earns LEED points under the Indoor Environment Quality category specified by the U.S Green Building Council.
“With this being one of our first LEED projects for Cinemark, we wanted to get as many energy efficient and environmental points as possible. That’s why we started looking at a Munters unit to boost points.” said Art Justice, Director of Energy & Utilities for Cinemark.
The two-story theater building houses approximately 48,000-square-feet of conditioned floor area. The location of the theater is in the heart of Napa Valley, CA, the famous wine country within the west coast of the U.S. This area has a predominantly dry climate year round, making it an ideal fit for a Munters EPX system.
How it works
At the core of the EPX is a proprietary indirect evaporative cooling and winter heat recovery exchanger, called the EPX .
The heat exchanger is constructed of corrosion and scale-resistant polymer tubes that run horizontally within the casing. Scavenger ambient air (or outside air) flows up along the outside of the tube bundle, while water flows down from the top, bathing the tubes with evaporatively cooled water. Hot outdoor air enters the inside of the tubes at one end and is cooled as it flows through these tubes, approaching the wet-bulb temperature of the exhaust air.
The EPX performance (wet-bulb depression effectiveness) is 70% and higher, depending on various design and operating parameters. The process is referred to as “indirect” evaporative, since no moisture is added to the supply air.
Discovering the EPX System as a Perfect Fit
The theater complex is comprised of 12 theaters, concession area, box office, projector rooms, recreation rooms, private offices and support spaces.
The first floor contains the majority of the floor area which includes all conditioned area except the projector rooms which are located on the second floor.
One 18,000 cfm EPX system, was installed on the theater's roof along with several RTU single units. During the hottest time of the day, all of the cooling by the EPX is achieved using the indirect evaporative cooling process to provide a significant reduction in peak electrical demand.
On a summer design day, the unit can cool the air from 94.4°F to 78.9°F using the outside air as scavenger with a wet bulb temperature of 71°F. The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) for this system will be as high as 90 depending on the ambient conditions.
The EPX unit is responsible for only treating the outside air, handling the ventilation load. There are several zone boxes which are responsible for the space load including projector heat, lighting, etc.
The EPX unit has several water conservation features. The unit includes a conductivity controller with an automatic bleed valve to save water. The unit also includes a nonchemical water treatment which allows the bleed water to be used for irrigation purposes.
“I would highly recommend this product. We are very pleased,” said Justice. “I am most impressed with the level of professionalism and support while working with Munters. Also, the quality of the product is evident. It is a really well-built unit.”
With energy savings obtained by the EPX and the site’s other sustainable efforts, the Cinemark–Napa “NextGen” theater has been LEED Gold Certified—the second highest certification a building can receive from the U.S. Green Building Council.