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Floor Load Calculations (Cooling, Heating,

Simulation)
This help topic discusses floor transmission load calculations for design heating and energy
simulation applications. Floor transmission loads are due to heat flow through floors which are
either adjacent to unconditioned or partially conditioned regions, or are in contact with soil. The
program permits four types of floor heat transfer situations to be evaluated:

1. Floor is Above Conditioned Region: It is assumed the adjacent region is at the same
temperature as the zone. Therefore, no heat transfer occurs.

2. Floor is Above An Unconditioned Region: The procedures outlined in the help topics titled
Partition and Ceiling Load Calculations (Cooling, Simulation) and Partition and Ceiling Load
Calculations (Heating) are used to calculate these floor transmission loads.

3. Slab On Grade Floor: Heat transmitted through the floor and the adjacent soil is computed.

4. Floor Below Grade: Heat transmitted through the floor, below-grade walls and the adjacent
soil is analyzed.

The remainder of this topic discusses calculations for the slab on grade and floor below grade
cases. Readers should note that HAP does not perform load calculations for slab-on-grade and
basement floors and walls for the design cooling condition. Per ASHRAE recommendations, slab
and basement heat transfer is not included in the design cooling calculations since heat transfer is
either negligible or constitutes a credit for summer conditions.

Step 1:Calculate Heat Gains. In HAP a simplified 1-dimensional steady-state heat transfer
model is used to estimate ground heat transfer. Readers should recognize that this is a
simplification since ground heat transfer is really a 3-dimensional heat transfer problem which
would require advanced numerical methods to solve precisely. Considerations for the 1-
dimensional model vary for slab-on-grade floors and below grade floors and walls:

a. For a Slab-On-Grade Floor, it is assumed heat is transferred from the room air through the
slab floor to the soil beneath and eventually to outdoor air. Working from the slab perimeter
inward, the program calculates the total thermal resistance of the heat transfer path by
considering the R-value of the slab floor and carpet, the soil beneath the slab, slab footer
insulation, the slab footer, and soil outside the slab footer. The soil thermal resistance is
determined using the length of the heat transfer path through the soil, and the user specification
of the soil thermal conductivity. Figure 1 illustrates the configuration of these components. To
determine thermal resistances, it is assumed the heat transfer path is semi-circular. Therefore, as
one proceeds inward from the slab perimeter, the path of heat transfer becomes longer and the
overall resistance to heat flow becomes larger. The equation for one-dimensional heat flow as a
function of distance from the slab perimeter is integrated over the width of the floor and is then
solved to determine the total heat flow through the slab floor area. The following equation is
used:

qf = P (Toa - Tr) ksoil/ x

[ ln (1/ho + W/ksoil + Rf + Rsi + Rs)

- ln (1/ho + Rf + Rsi + Rs) ]

Figure 1. Slab-on-Grade Floor Diagram

b. For Below-Grade Floors, heat transmitted through both the floor and basement walls is
considered. The floor heat transmission gain is calculated using the procedures described above
for slab-on-grade floors, except that the slab footer and slab footer insulation are omitted from
thermal resistance calculations. In this case the heat transmission paths are also longer. For heat
transmission through the basement walls, it is assumed the heat transfer path is circular between
the basement wall and the soil surface (i.e. a 90-degree arc). The thermal resistance to heat flow
depends on the R-value of the basement wall, wall insulation and the adjacent soil. The heat
transfer path becomes longer as the depth below grade increases. The equation for one-
dimensional heat transfer as a function of depth is integrated over the interval from grade level to
floor depth below grade and is then solved to determine total heat transfer through the basement
wall. When wall insulation is used, two separate calculations are performed. One is for the
portion of the wall covered by insulation, and the other is for the uninsulated portion of the wall.
Figure 2 illustrates the components involved in this analysis. The following equations are used:

qf = P (Toa - Tr) ksoil/ x

[ ln (1/ho + Df/(2ksoil) + W/ksoil + Rs) - ln (1/ho + Df/(2ksoil) + Rs) ]


qw = P (Toa - Tr) 2ksoil/ x

[ ln (1/ho + Di/(2ksoil) + Rwi + Rw) - ln (1/ho + Rwi + Rw)

+ ln (1/ho + Df/(2ksoil) + Rw) - ln (1/ho + Di/(2ksoil) + Rw) ]

Figure 2. Floor Below Grade Diagram

Step 2:Derive Loads from Heat Gains. It is assumed load equals heat gain for slab floors,
basement walls and basement floors. Therefore, room transfer function equations are not needed
to convert heat gains into loads for these load components.

Variable Definitions:

Df = Depth of basement floor below grade, ft or m.


Di = Depth that basement wall insulation extends below grade, ft or m.
ho = Outdoor surface convection coefficient, 6.00 BTU/(hr-sqft-F) or 34.1
W/(sqm-K).
ksoil = Thermal conductivity for soil, BTU/(hr-ft-F) or W/(m-K).
P = Slab floor perimeter exposed to contact with soil, ft.
qf = Floor heat gain, BTU/hr or W.
qw = Basement wall heat gain, BTU/hr or W.
Rf = Thermal resistance for wall foundation, 1.64 (hr-sqft-F)/BTU or 0.289 (sqm-
K)/W.
Rsi = Thermal resistance for slab insulation, (hr-sqft-F)/BTU or (sqm-K)/W.
Rs = Thermal resistance of slab floor, including the floor material, any covering
such as tile or carpet and the inside surface resistance, (hr-sqft-F)/BTU or
(sqm-K)/W.
Rw = Thermal resistance of basement wall including the wall material, any
interior wall finish material or insulation and the inside surface resistance,
(hr-sqft-F)/BTU or (sqm-K)/W.
Rwi = Thermal resistance of insulation applied to the exterior of the basement wall,
(hr-sqft-F)/BTU or (sqm-K)/W.
Toa = Outdoor air temperature, F or C.
Tr = Room air temperature, F or C.
W = Effective width of floor, ft. This is calculated as {space floor area} divided
by {exposed perimeter}.