Designing HVAC Systems to Meet Industry Standards

A lot of thought is put into the look and feel for a commercial building. However, some times the designing of HVAC systems don’t necessarily go into consideration. Depending on the size of the building, it’s not just as simple as having your basic components. Incorporating HVAC equipment in conjunction with a commercial building’s design can have a big impact on energy savings. For this article, we not only want to discuss designing HVAC systems to meet industry standards but also to make them resource and energy-efficient. Before you get started, there are some key aspects of HVAC design to be considered:

Fundamentals of Efficient HVAC Design

  • Take into consideration the entire building’s design. This means looking at the effect on cooling load and daylighting. To make sure there is proper climate control requires integrating architectural and engineering alongside HVAC design.
  • Determine your design goals. With an integrated design approach, you need to consider everything from accessibility to aesthetics. Also consider setting goals on sustainability, productivity, functionality, and operations. What requirements do these need and how can you achieve your design goals?
  • The right size for your HVAC system. We commonly run into the HVAC systems being oversized. This makes the HVAC system inefficient and can be costly. It can also cause comfort issues with air quality. While some uncertainties in the final design can be considered for safety factors, it shouldn’t be unreasonable.
  • Don’t forget to consider part-load performance. When selecting equipment, consider that maximum outputs typically are only used 1-3% of the time. That is why most equipment is historically oversized.
  • Design with electric loads in mind. There is often a kick-back for not running many electrical utilities during on-peak hours. Try to consider non-critical loads that can run during these times.
  • Consider expansion but don’t size for it. To size for it can be wasteful. However, you may want to consider adequate sized mechanical rooms and space for updated technologies as they arise. You don’t want to size your equipment to match this but you do want to plan for the future.
  • Establish an O&M program. This means properly trained personnel and processes to test the HVAC systems under all conditions. Commercial HVAC systems can have issues but having processes in place can help avoid on-going problems. And this doesn’t happen after the building is complete. These can be developed during the pre-design phase and adjusted as needed.

HVAC Design Recommendations

Based on the above fundamentals, here are some basic design recommendations:

  • Take the most time to look at all aspects of the building design to help reduce heating and cooling loads.
  • Come up with project goals for energy efficiency before construction begins. These should include quantitative energy consumption and costs.
  • During schematic design, goals should meet or exceed the minimum requirement of regulations or codes.
  • Use the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 as the upper limit of HVAC safety and pick-up load allowances.
  • Incorporate new dependable computerized analysis tools to eliminate excess oversizing.
  • Shift or shave the load by looking into the utility company’s rate structure. Negotiate.
  • Look into alternative fuel sources for cooling and heating systems.
  • Provide ample space for additional equipment that might not be apart of the initial build.
  • Write a comprehensive operation and maintenance program.

These are just some of the factors to consider when designing HVAC systems to meet industry standards. This is by no means a completely comprehensive list of things to consider, but it is a good start. Also, consider the type of commercial building you are creating. There are many different things to consider when, for example, building a healthcare facility. If you have any questions about the information above or need help with HVAC design, contact The Severn Group today.