I often say a building is the envelope that allows the space inside to be environmentally controlled. We have seen over the years there are many reasons why the environment inside the building needs to be controlled.
- In a commercial building it is all about people comfort.
- In a manufacturing plant it can be about how the humidity of the space will affect the quality of the “widget” being manufactured.
- In a warehouse it may be about the temperature affecting the product being stored.
Whatever your reason for controlling the environment of your facility, it is important that the correct Heating, Ventilating, & Air Conditioning (HVAC) system be selected, engineered, and designed to meet the criteria of your project.
Like every other building component there are basic HVAC system types with multiple variations of those systems. One size does not fit all but, all systems find their roots in the basic concepts of:
Packaged & Split DX Systems: For cooling, a compressor – condenser – evaporator system is utilized to take the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas vapor (absorbing heat) then back to a liquid (releasing heat). This process cools the air passing over the coils. For heating, this system uses gas or electric to heat the air. The air in the space for cooling, heating and ventilating is circulated utilizing fans and ductwork.
Chiller/Boiler & Air Handlers: This system uses pumps and piping from a chiller (for cooling) or a boiler (for heating) to circulate water (or glycol) to a coil in the air handler. A fan in the air handler blows air across the coil and delivers conditioned air to the space utilizing ductwork. Ventilation for the space can be provided through the air handling unit.
Radiant: This system applies the principles of transferring radiant energy from an emitting heat source to an object. The heat source could be hot water, steam, gas or electrical. Since a radiant system does not move air, it does not have the capabilities of providing air conditioning or ventilation. If air conditioning or ventilation is required in the space then separate systems would need to be provided.
Selecting which system is right for your building starts with understanding your needs, doing an economic analysis (upfront cost vs ongoing utility cost), identifying operational issues (maintenance & life cycle) and complying with energy conservation code requirements. Once this is done then engineering and detailed design can be completed. PDMi can help you through the process of identifying, selecting and engineering an HVAC system that meets all the requirements of your next building project. Give us a call…