A Review of Passive Cooling Options for Office Buildings
Info: 7726 words (31 pages) Dissertation
Published: 9th Dec 2019
ABSTRACTThe implementation of passive cooling into office buildings are becoming increasingly common due to a wide range of factors including the damage caused by an office buildings energy consumption, operation on the environment, increasing electricity prices, change in the climate conditions, worsening of heat islands, increase in greenhouse effect and so on. Passive cooling involves the incorporation of techniques with the intention to treating the internal environment of an office building in a natural means without the use of mechanical means, to improve the buildings performance globally. A range of passive cooling options have the potential for reducing the operational energy consumed by a building and improve the level of the internal comfort experienced by the user. This review presents the results from case studies on office buildings. The main aim of the case study was to establish the level of thermal performance of an office building and how the implementation of passive cooling techniques can greatly improve its performance. The aim of the literature review was to develop an understanding of passive cooling techniques that may be used to office buildings to combat energy consumption and improve occupant comfort. The results for the case study research conducted indicate that there are a number of passive cooling techniques into an office buildings external façade, shading, thermal insulation and natural ventilation through the use of night ventilation and window operation. It is considered with the exception of reflective roof coverings and the use of passive cooling will result in an increase in the comfort levels noticed by a buildings occupants TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT INTRODUCTION AIMS & OBJECTIVES LITERATURE REVIEW INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTION IMPROVING INTERNAL COMFORT CONDITIONS REGULATION AND LEGISTRATION ON SUSTINABILITY THE IMPACT OF AIR-CONDITIONING ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS INDOOR AIR QUALITY PASSIVE COOLING TECHNIQUES NATURAL VENTILATION GLAZING THERMAL INSULATION SHADING ADVANTAGES OF PASSIVE COOLING CONCLUSION METHODOLGY INTRODUCTION RESEARCH APPROACH RESEARCH STRUCTURE DETAILED RESEARCH REPORT METHODOLOGY IDENTIFY A RESEARCH PROBLEM WRITE A LITERARURE REVIEW CONCEPTUALISING A RESEARCH STRATEGY TOOLS FOR DATA COLLECTION COLLECTION OF DATA & PROCESSING DATA WRITING THE RESEARCH ANALYSIS RESEARCH CONSTRAINTS SUMMARY
INTRODUCTIONAn review into the use of passive cooling options for office buildings is the proposed topic of research, It is an area of great interest as it has be used abundantly with the infrastructure of today’s society, and can play a vital role from the buildings we work in to the dwellings we habitat. By implementing these types of solutions we can reduce a buildings energy consumption, reduce the use of mechanical cooling systems (air conditioning) and reduce our carbon footprint, which is directly linked to global warming and climate change. During the last 70 to 80 years, In most populated cities around the world, there has been a substantial increase in the construction of new buildings, of which would require massive amounts of energy to run all year round. During hot climate conditions (summer months) one specific function of a building is needed, to keep the building at a cool ambient temperature for thermal comfort to humans, typically this is achieved by using air conditioning. Air conditioning systems are a readily available product, where a comfortable thermal environment is achieved at the push of a button, it can be installed in virtually any building, even buildings that do not retain heat well, that have a poor thermal design. With this type of system comes vast financial expenditure to install the units, and the running cost of the plant needed to power the air-conditioning units. Further consequences are:
- Huge amounts of wasted electricity
- Air pollution
- Cost of annual maintenance
- Cost of manufacturing
- installing and maintaining the cabling,
- Increases the capital cost of buildings.
- Energy demand
- Cooling loads
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Avoid overheating of new and existing buildings in warm months
AIMS & OBJECTIVESThe main aim of this research is to investigate the effectiveness of passive cooling options for office buildings. To achieve this, various case study’s, article journals and published technical book were research and reviewed. In addition talks with a range of industry professionals, from various background disciplines was also carried out. This research was completed with an aim of finding out an understanding of the thermal performance of office buildings through the comparison of the internal thermal environment experienced to thermal comfort standards. The aim of the research is supported by the objectives listed below:
- To find passive cooling options that may be applicable for office buildings.
- To examine the passive cooling options in regards of reducing the need for mechanical air conditioning and the energy consumption required to operate.
- To compare the indoor climate level quality using passive cooling techniques instead of using mechanical techniques.
SCOPE OF RESEARCHThis dissertation is structure in the following chapters; INTRODUCTION The introduction provides the knowledge and problems related to the research topic, identifies the aims and objectives of the research and provides an overview of the structure of the dissertation. LITERATURE REVIEW The literature review, reviews the available and current literature relative to passive cooling of office buildings, which forms the foundation of the research. The body of knowledge has been found from journal articles, books and websites related to the topic.It discusses the concept of energy consumption of an office building in the operational phase and the various passive cooling techniques available. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The research methodology identifies and discusses the methodology adopted for this dissertation, it is based upon research models from Guide to undergraduate’s dissertations, London Southbank University, and various similar research models. It is structured to identify the process for the researched to adopt. The research followed the process of formulating a problem, write a literature review, conceptualising a research strategy, identify the tools for data collection, the collection of data & data processing and finally examine and summarise findings. ANALYSIS OF RESEARCH The analysis research SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
INTRODUCTIONThis literature review presents the body of knowledge relative to passive cooling techniques. Providing the foundations for this research paper. The literature review was completed with the aim of establishing:
- An understanding of historic background knowledge on passive cooling;
- An understanding of reducing energy consumption in office buildings, and improving internal comfort conditions;
- The effects of mechanical cooling techniques in office buildings;
- The potential outcome of implementing passive cooling techniques into office buildings
|Table 1 journal articles, research papers and published technical books research|
|Search criteria used the data search:||Title / Keywords|
|Published year (onwards):||2000|
|Web-sites used to conduct research|
BACKGROUNDPassive cooling is not regarded as new technology. Cooling is the transfer of energy from the space or the air supplied to that space, in order to achieve a lower temperature or lower humidity level than those of the natural surroundings. The developments of cooling has passed through many stages, from simple intuitive applications of natural cooling solutions such as shading, evaporative cooling and air circulation for improving the comfort sensation. As building architecture developed to become more artistic, the needs and demands of humans also changed. Well before the development of mechanical cooling solutions, many techniques were used in the design stages for providing cooling and comfortable indoor conditions. The use of these cooling techniques was not based on the understanding of the physical process, but more on the conceptual experiences. These were simple applications such as.
- Air movement through open spaces
- External and internal shading
- Appropriate arrangement of the surroundings i.e open pools / ponds & vegetation
- Use of building materials with a low conductivity of heat, i.e marble and light surface paints
REDUCING ENERGY CONSUMPTIONAs a result of the ever increasing general population, increasing cost of fossil fuels (non-renewable sources), the price of electricity is constantly increasing. Published results have shown that the price of electricity has drastically increased by 40-50%, from a period of 1997 to 2010, and that the predicted future outcomes show increase is likely to happen again (office of energy n.d) During the past 10-15 years the commercial market position of a building has become largely influenced by is energy efficiency and sustainability within the environment . By incorporating passive cooling technologies such as night ventilation, improved insulation or improving quality of glazing, the goal of reducing operational energy and improving sustainability, can be accomplishing. The end result of reducing an office buildings energy consumption is savings in the buildings operational cost and therefore making the building economically sustainable [1 find reference].
IMPROVING INTERNAL COMFORT CONDITIONSThe health and wellbeing of an office buildings occupants are largely affected by the internal comfort levels. The overall goal of an office building is to provide a pleasing and healthy location for its occupants whilst at work, and therefore the treatment of the indoor environment is required . It is not possible to meet the needs for every individual occupant’s desires. The typical needs of the buildings population is targeted through the form of a series of indoor environmental quality indicators. BSR/ASHARE standard 55P is the proposed American national standard for Thermal Comfort Conditions for Human Occupancy (may 2003) notes that an internal environment should target to satisfy 80% to 90% of the buildings occupants. Quality indicators for the indoor environment are required to achieve the thermal and respiratory necessities of building occupants whilst avoiding the build-up of pollutants / containments. (Construction innovation ISSN:1471-4175 2001). The energy consumption of buildings is very reliant upon the environmental quality criteria as perceived in BSR/ASHARE standard 55P. Indoor environmental quality indicators are presented below :
- Indoor air quality indicators (IQA)
- Thermal comfort indicators
- Air speed: where the speed of the air flows around the internal space / shell of a building;
- Internal air temperature: the mean temperature of the internal air of a building which surrounds an occupant;
- Relative humidity: the amount of water vaper in the air
- Thermal gradient: the difference in internal air temperature as is rises in height through a building;
- Temperature time variation: the change in air temperature over a period of time;
- Radiant temperature: the alteration in temperatures from hot and cold surfaces.
REGULATION AND LEGISLATION ON SUSTAINABILITYOver time government bodies have seen that the need for passive cooling is every increasing, where now governments are implementing regulations and passing law’s to make buildings more sustainable, which is a major force behind the movement to increase the energy efficiency of buildings.. The UK recognises that the impact of our daily work, social practices and construction sector has a negative global effect to a sustainable environment. UK Legislation and regulation are now enhancing our environmental sustainability through the use of sustainable design and construction in the UK construction sector . The European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) took effect from 4 January 2006. A reorganising of the requirements, which will be more demanding, was approved in May 2010 and came into effect in early 2013. The EPBD aims to promote the improvement of energy performance in buildings by encouraging owners and tenants to choose energy efficient buildings when seeking new premises, and to improve the energy efficiency of buildings that they already occupy . In the UK, the EPBD was also implemented through major changes to the Building Regulations 2006 and the introduction of energy certification (DECs and EPCs) for both domestic and non-domestic properties, which directly affect the construction of new buildings . Other legislations to improving sustainability include:
- CRC - Energy efficiency scheme: the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory scheme. Which focuses on large public and private sector organisations, which are responsible for around 10% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce their environmental impact ;
- EIA - Environmental impact assessments: An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process for identifying the environmental impact of proposed developments ;
- BREEAM & the code for sustainable homes: BREEAM is the world’s most widely used system for assessing, reviewing and improving a range of environmental impacts associated with buildings. The CSH is a largely voluntary standard that acts as a pathway to Zero Carbon Homes, which are to be mandated for all new build housing from 2016 .
THE IMPACT OF AIR-CONDITIONINGAs we still have extensive use of air-condition units, the following problems can be directly liked to which mechanical cooling systems damage our environment and provide poor sustainability:
ENVIRONMENTALThe expanded use of air conditioned units has seen drastic increases in electrical demand and consumption during summer time months/seasons. With the increase in electrical demand we put our national supply grids under strain to preform, and to sustain this need for more electricity comes the demand to build new power plants. Additionally we also see an increase to the consumer for the average cost of electricity per house hold, this is to cover the construction cost of new power plants and to cover the day to day running of said energy plants. Figure 2.0 Volume of UK domestic electricity and gas consumption dating 1965-2014 . Increases in electrical energy production can then be linked to the increased use of fossil fuels which power energy production plants, from this, we generate atmospheric pollution which results in climate changes. During the process to of fuel conversion we release CO2 into the atmosphere, which is a main contributor to the greenhouse effect. Typically Coal-fired plants emit 0.5kg of carbon dioxide in the form of CO2 for each kWh generated. Heat rejection during the production & operational process of air conditioning units themselves increase the occurrence of the urban heat islands. This is where the climate is modified by the heat releases and pollution of the units, thus generally producing warmer air in cities. Where research shows that summer time heat islands are of average daily intensity of 3-5°C resulting in discomfort for humans and increased air conditioning loads. Our ozone-layer weakening can be caused by the most common refrigerants of currently used air conditioning, CFCs & HFCs. This is due to leakage during manufacturing, maintenance or failure of the unit. Is had been forecast that in the UK the average annual rate of refrigerant leakage from air conditioning units is around 15%-20% of the total machine charge. It is seen that long-term alternatives to CFCs and HFCs will have zero ozone layer depletion potential (ODP), most of them will still be strong greenhouse gases.
ECONOMICSThe Installation of air conditioning units creates an additional cost on-top of the construction cost of a building. This also leads to additional costs to operate and maintain the units. Increases in peak electricity demand creates the additional requirement of power plants to satisfy the increasing needs and background costs such as the of importing of conditioning units from abroad.
INDOOR AIR QUALITYThe potential to increase illness symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes, dry throat and dry skin and asthma, which can also be referred to a “sick building syndrome’ are usually linked to people working in air-conditioned buildings .
PASSIVE COOLING TECHNIQUESPassive cooling techniques focus on using different parts of a building and the environment it is surrounded by to accumulate cooling energy. Passive cooling main objective is the removal of heat form a buildings shell through the natural process of heat rejection into the atmosphere and surrounding ground through mean of convection, conduction, radiation, and evaporation . The use of passive cooling concentrates mainly on reducing / removing unwanted internal and external heat gains of a building, using orientation, ventilation, windows & shading techniques thus generating the cooling potential and limiting the operational energy of air conditioning . INTERNAL HEAT GAINS Most properties contain multiple internal sources of heat, which is also referred to as internal heat gains. Common sources of internal heat gains are people, lights, pets, electronic appliances, cookers, washing machines, dryers, TV’s, computers, dishwasher’s, kettles, toasters, hot plates, all which produce waste heat. When you combine all of these heat generates sources, you find a huge combined generated amount of heat. Though, this is a great for winter months, for summer months not so much. These internal heat gains make properties less comfortable to work in and result in high fuel bills . EXTERNAL HEAT GAINS The sun is the major source of external heat gains and is essential to have a knowledge of the sun's position throughout the times of the day/month & year when designing buildings and using passive cooling. Knowledge of knowing the direction of prevailing winds is also crucial. Using this knowledge allows the us to find the best orientation of the building, window positions and shading devices. The suns heat enters properties externally in a various ways, by light hitting the roof of a house, which is absorbed into the roof structure and stays buoyant in the attic of the roof, heats up the insulation and the timber framing of the roof. Sunlight hitting windows and walls, warm air generated from light hitting driveways and patios decks. This warm air heats up walls and windows of a property. Warm air can also heat a building by passing through openings in doors and window  The main elements in the passive design of a building include the following:
- Natural ventilation through the building, reducing the barriers to air paths;
- Allowing for fans to facilitate ventilation if the natural air flow is absent or ineffective;
- Incorporating channels or corridors for warm air to exit the building;
- Suitable height for the instillation glazing to provide an adequate level of ventilation whilst avoiding significant heat gains;
- Effecting shading;
- Adequate levels of insulation;
- Use of light paints / cladding to walls and roofs to reflect solar radiation (external heat gains).
NATURAL VENTILATIONNatural ventilation introduces the flow of air into a building by natural means, where air flow / movement is one of the most important aspect of passive cooling. A breeze flowing through a building at 0.5m/s will generate an effect of the internal temperature being 3-5°C lower than it actually is. Natural ventilation is a good valid consideration for implementing into a office building. Thorough the incorporation of cavity walls, louvers and canopies and many other methods, the air can be direct through the interior of the building shell with the aim of providing fresh air, enhancing the removal of hot air and reducing the perceived internal temperature, whilst in addition avoiding the build-up of pollutants . An example of this would be opening windows at opposite ends of a building where the wind is acting in a normal direction to the building face, the open window will encourage a cross flow of fresh air through the building. The cool external air can be of use to lower the internal heat gains on hot summer days . Night ventilation is an effective and energy efficient approach to improving the indoor thermal environment of a building. The approach of Night ventilation is storing the night’s coolness, when the air temperature is low enough within the thermal mass of the building to facilitate the removal of the heat within the building envelope the next day . It has been observed that the daily peak temperature within the building shell can usually be reduced by around 3-4°C through the use of night ventilation, thus showing us potential reductions in energy consumption .
GLAZINGA buildings envelope is the main barrier between the internal and external environment, but with buildings now incorporating more glazing to be become aesthetically pleasing, achieving a satisfactory comfort level can often result in extreme high energy consumption . Glazing within a building is required to provide a level of thermal comfort, visual comfort and balance the level of heat absorbed. Glazing within a building can be responsible for heat loss and also heat gain. Where windows are actually the most energy transmissive element for a building. Data provided in the glazing energy performance and design shows us that glazing is responsible for around 15-25% of the heat loss of a building and around 30-40% of the heat gains [check this 13]. Data also shows that a typical façade with a window accumulates around 40-50% of the façade, by reducing the window size percentage. We gain a reduction in energy consumption and limit heat gains . The best way to neutralise energy consumption through glazing is using smarter designed windows. A number of advances have been made in the glazing industry, the latest glazing technologies have been designed with the intent to minimise energy consumption. Last are the latest advances in glazing .
- Vacuum glazing
- Spectrally Selective Coating
THERMAL INSULATIONThe thermal performance of a building shell is the result of the materials properties used in the construction phase of the build. The aim of installing insulation into a property is to reduce the speed at which heat flows through conduction, convection or radiation in and out of a property. Through the use of correct insulation to roof lost spaces and walls heat gains can be prevented from entering the building and therefore reducing the internal thermal environment .
SHADINGThe sun transmits / radiates its heat gains through glazing, which increases the internal temperature of a building, where the internal fabrics / furnishings of a building absorbed the heat. The most effective method of reducing the impact of solar gains into a building is to stop or reduce the the direct radiation of the sun prior to it coming into contact with the glazing / building external shell . Shading is now considered a main technique to reduce cooling loads in a building. Shading of a building face can be implemented through a range of techniques which include the flowing ;
- Internal shading;
- Static or movable external blinds or louvers;
- Rolling reflective roof canvass;
- Earthern pots;
- Vegetation to the external face;
- Recesses in the external envelope of the building;
- External roller shades
ADVANTAGES OF PASSIVE COOLINGThe energy required for heating and cooling of buildings is approximately 6.0% - 7.0% of the total world energy consumption, this figure can drastically be reduced by 2.0% - 2.5% with the use of efficient passive cooling design. In hot climate countries energy needs for cooling can amount to two or three times those for heating on an annual basis. By using basic principles of heat transfer combined with the local climate and specific properties of construction material, passive cooling can make possible the control of the comfortable living conditions of the within the interior of general housing. Even in areas of the world where the mean average maximum temperature is around 30°C-32°C, with the use of efficient passive cooling design indoor comfort conditions can be achieved. Figure 1.0, annular increase in mean annual temperature for the London, North West England & North Scotland Regions . It was anticipated that in 2010 an increase of 8 – 9 million tons of oil equivalent per annum in total could be achieved in technical potential solar contribution, if passive cooling techniques were applied in general housing / buildings.
CONCLUSIONThe Literature review has presented an overview of the energy consumed by a building through the use of mechanical means to cool. The use of air conditioning systems within an office building totals up to around half of the energy consumed to cool. Therefore there is a need to reduce the operational energy of a building through reducing the use of mechanical air conditioning systems. Passive cooling has been identified as an effective method for reducing the operational consumed of a building. Many methods / techniques of passive cooling may be implemented into an office building either at construction phase or post construction. Natural ventilation, new technology glazing, shading and thermal insulation are all viable options to have potential in the savings on operation cost to mechanical air conditioning and operational energy consumption.
INTRODUCTIONThe research methodology used for this report follows a structure outlined by various sources including; London south bank university & guide to undergraduate’s dissertations. The research structure used is as follows
- Identify a research problem;
- Write a literature review;
- Conceptualising a research strategy
- Tool’s for data collection
- Collection of data & data processing
- Examine and sum-up findings
RESEARCH APPROACHResearch methods can be categorized from a number of views;
- Application approach – Pure research & Applied Research;
- Objectives approach – Descriptive research’ Exploratory research, Correlation Research & Explanatory research.
RESEARCH STRUCTUREThe following is the structure the research followed, it is a step-by-step process to undertaking the research report;
- Identify a research problem;
- Write a literature review;
- Conceptualising a research strategy
- Tool’s for data collection
- Collection of data through interviews and data research
- Examine and summarise findings
DETAILED RESEARCH REPORT METHODOLOGY
IDENTIFY A RESEARCH PROBLEMThe research problem was established from the knowledge gap during the preliminary research for the current literature. The research identified a number if case studies and journals which explored passive cooling techniques, the impact of mechanical air conditioning and the impact of an office buildings energy consumption. As a direct outcome of this research finding, the problem was identified.
WRITE A LITERARURE REVIEWA literature review is the outcome of reviewing all existing knowledge of the research subject and provide the research paper with a theoretical background, guiding the subject and put it into a context which is characteristic and appropriate for the purpose of this study. The literature review process of the report involved searching for existing literature relating to the subject of passive cooling including technical books, articles, journals and information on the world wide web. After securing a range of literature a preliminary review was produced on passive cooling, reducing building energy consumption and internal comfort conditions. From this the finalised literature review was produced over the past 4-6 months, the finalised reviewed involved a process of update the review over the time period.
CONCEPTUALISING A RESEARCH STRATEGYThe research strategy is used in the paper to answer the questions validly, objectively & specifically. The aim of the research is to illustrate what procedures were used and the activities undertaken to assertion the answers to the research problem. The research strategy ensures that all the aspects of the research were undertaken and completed in the correct sequence. Making sure the report is open, accountable and provides clarity, minimising errors and bias opinions, in achieving the required ability to for this study to be carried out by another researcher. The characteristics of this report as as follows:
TOOLS FOR DATA COLLECTIONMultipole Case study research Case study research examining the thermal performance of an office building in the UK was used as the main tool for collecting data, where it was used to identified that office buildings in the UK which underachieving in both thermal mass conditions and energy consumption. The case study research allows the exploration and understanding of the complex issues from thermal mass and energy consumption. The case study will enable the report to closely examine the data within a specific context & will explore and investigate real-life results through collected detailed analysis Case studies are an in-depth examination of a case which provide a systematic way of observing the events, collecting data, analysing information and reporting the result over a period of time specific to that study. For this report a multiple case study design was adopted. Data was collected from an array of case studies on passive cooling, thermal performance and energy consumption of an office building. Advantages of adopting the case study method are:
- Examination of the data us conducted within the context of its use;
- Case studies allow for both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data;
- Case studies help to explore and describe the dada in real life environments and explain the complexities of real life situations.
COLLECTION OF DATA & PROCESSING DATAA numerous amount of case studies research papers were read in a period of two to three weeks and were generally completed at London South Bank university or the residence of the researcher. The collection of data involved preparing hand written notes & voice note for analysis of the case studies. The data processing stage involved the researcher to edit the collected raw data from notes and literature written down as well as voice notes collected to identify and rectify errors made, incompleteness and gaps. This involved comparing transcripts of the notes made and voice notes recorded The researcher processed the data for the dissertation on Microsoft word to show the analysing of the data and tables. A final summarising of the findings was produced and incorporated into the dissertation to make meaningful conclusions, from the research findings.
WRITING THE RESEARCH ANALYSISThe researcher wrote the research analysis using a similar structure to the literature review and research instrument. The findings from the case study research were analysed and compared to the information presented in the literature review to establish common findings and differences.
RESEARCH CONSTRAINTSThe researcher acknowledges that the research was constrained due to the following;
- The building performance research was limited to one location as oppose to multiple national locations, which was due to limited time on the research;
- Information to the energy consumption cost of the case study was unavailable due to limitations of data available to the public on the web and published data;
- In the time frame it was not possible to fully analyse the cost implications of implementing passive cooling technologies;
- The researcher was limited to a time period of 10-12 weeks to carry out the research due to working in a full time demanding job and only having day release to for university studies;
- The research report was limited to 10000 words plus or minus five percent.
SUMMARYThe research methodology adopted for the subject is based upon a 6 stage process as outlined by numerous university’s including London south bank university. The methodology adopted by the researcher was successful in providing sufficient data for analysis and the deduction of meaningful conclusions. As a result, the research methodology has been successful in satisfying the research aim and objectives and in answering the research question.
ANALYSIS OF RESEARCHFrom reviewing and analysing various case studies on passive cooling techniques, the technique opted for this research dissertation was night ventilation, and its effectiveness for cooling an office building. The analysis research is structured as follows;
- Weather and building suitability;
- Cooling potential and performance;
- Building application;
- Summary of findings.
WEATHER & BUILDING SUSTAINABILITYOf the many techniques researched from various case studies and the techniques listed in the literature night ventilation is the chosen technique as it particularly appropriate for an office building. This is due to the way an office building is used, which enables high air flow to flush out the interior at night when the buildings are uninhabited. The UK’s daily temperature range varies from medium to large.
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