Designing a Commercial HVAC System from the Ground Up

Commercial HVAC systems account for as much as 39% of energy use in commercial buildings throughout the country. That number, 39%, represents an opportunity to save money while maintaining comfort and operational efficiency. By designing a commercial HVAC system correctly from the start, you will have the best chance at saving on operational costs without taking shortcuts.

What a Commercial HVAC System Does for Your Building

Your HVAC system is responsible for maintaining a specific level of indoor air quality for the comfort of your staff. It also keeps the temperature stable wherever it is a concern for operations. Not only does your HVAC system heat and cool your space, but it also controls humidity levels and fights mold growth, wood rot, and pest infestations. Overall, a quality commercial HVAC system will improve the comfort and health of anyone in your building for the duration of their stay.

What You Need to Decide Before Starting

Before designing a commercial HVAC system, you need to understand how your building’s structure impacts your plans. These concerns include the efficiency level of your system and how large your system should be.

Design Goals

Set a goal for the efficiency rating you need before researching commercial HVAC systems. Having a goal in mind will help you select the best equipment for the job and units with the right Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. High-efficiency furnaces range between 90 and 97 percent AFUE.

The Size of Your System

Whether you’re retrofitting your building or you’re working with new construction, the size of your system is critical. A system that is too small will be ineffective at heating or cooling your building properly. A system that is too large will waste energy and money while negatively affecting the comfort of everyone inside.

Single-Split or Multi-Split

A single-split and a multi-split are two different forms of commercial HVAC design. Single-split designs are more common in commercial spaces, while multi-split designs offer more versatility. Each design has pros and cons, and the best option will depend on your building’s needs.

Single-Split Systems

Single-split systems consist of a furnace and air conditioner combination, allowing you to individually control the temperature of the space connected to the system. While this is the most popular and affordable system design, you will need additional outdoor units per space or zone you need to control. These units can take up precious space. However, if space isn’t a commodity, you can create an easy, comfortable, and affordable single-split system for your entire building.

Multi-Split Systems

Multi-split systems work differently. With multi-split systems, you can enjoy much higher energy efficiency while minimizing your outdoor footprint. Up to nine units can be connected to a single indoor unit, saving you massive amounts of space outside your building. Heat pumps are a popular choice for this system, as they can move warm and cool air naturally to save on operational costs. However, installation time can be longer, which can cost more upfront.

VRF and VRV Systems

Variable Refrigerant Flow or Variable Refrigerant Volume systems make it possible to heat and cool different spaces simultaneously. This is done by using “waste heat” from warmer areas of the building and bringing it to cooler areas. These systems are best used for larger buildings with high energy needs like hotels, larger office buildings, or data centers.

Commercial HVAC Design and Installation Services

The Severn Group has been providing high-quality HVAC services since 2002, helping clients in both the private and government sectors. If you need a custom-designed commercial HVAC system to perfectly meet your building’s needs, the Severn Group can help.