Your HVAC System: an Ideal Design for Your Commercial Building or Multifamily Community
HVAC system design is a critical component in creating an efficient, effective and reliable indoor environment in commercial facilities and larger multifamily structures such as apartment buildings. Multiple factors must be taken into consideration during the design phase if the HVAC system is to provide the best level of indoor comfort at the least possible cost. By recognizing the limitations of the building and the goals you want to accomplish with the HVAC equipment, you’ll be able to design a system that meets all the needs of the occupants of your commercial or residential space.
HVAC System Requirements
Indoor comfort and health factors are the most important requirements for a well-designed HVAC system. No matter how large or small the system, it must be able to provide basic functions that include:
- Heating and cooling: Basic environmental temperature control that lets occupants of the building maintain comfort levels appropriate to the season or outdoor temperatures.
- Filtration of indoor air: Removal of airborne particulates and other contaminants that could cause health and safety issues, such as asthma attacks, allergies or other respiratory troubles.
- Humidity control: Reduction or increasing of indoor relative humidity levels to help control comfort and reduce the effects of excess moisture.
- Distribution of fresh air: Venting of stale indoor air and the bringing in of fresh outdoor air to help maintain a clean, fresh indoor environment.
The system must be able to accomplish these tasks as efficiently and effectively as possible. Well-planned HVAC system design is the key to achieving these goals. By focusing on these factors during the design phase, you’ll be able to:
- Identify and resolve problems before they occur.
- Keep errors from becoming expensive physical issues that require replacement or repair..
- Ensure an HVAC system that works correctly from the day it is put into service.
Options for HVAC System Design
Large, multi-story commercial and residential buildings present significant challenges for HVAC system designers. They require the movement and distribution of large amounts of heating and cooling energy over an expansive space. Huge, rambling ductwork systems are inefficient at distributing heated and cooled air, for example, since they can experience significant amounts of leakage and energy loss before the conditioned air reaches its destination. Ventilation and introduction of fresh air also suffers.
These problems can be addressed in the following ways:
- Separate HVAC system functions: Design a system that separates the main functions of the HVAC equipment: temperature control, air filtration and dehumidification. An HVAC system can be constructed that uses liquids such as commercial refrigerants to move heating and cooling energy throughout the building. This can be accomplished by using chillers, boilers or a heat-pump type system connected to radiant heating and cooling systems in the walls, ceilings or floors. At the same time, the building’s ductwork system can be used solely for ventilation, removing the possibility of HVAC energy loss in those areas.
- Use variable-speed motors for a more efficient air mixture: Variable-speed or electronically commutated motor (ECM) systems can provide an efficient range of performance in HVAC system design. These motors are more efficient than single-stage types since they operate at varying levels in response to indoor temperature needs. They can remove air from the indoor spaces and mix conditioned air back into the space, which provides economical heating and cooling. The ECM technology also uses substantially less energy than conventional single-speed motors.
- Install dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS): These systems are useful in multiple-zone or large single-zone areas. They provide ventilation air separately from the heating or cooling system. They usually include heat-recovery ventilation (HRV) or energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) functions. HRVs and ERVs allow heating and cooling energy to be recovered from exhausted air while incoming outside air is heated or cooled as appropriate to reduce demands on the HVAC system.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial and Residential settings. For more information on effective HVAC system design and the benefits of a larger multizone HVAC network, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!