HVAC system size - getting it right

Thomas, P. C. and Moller, Steven (2006) HVAC system size - getting it right. [Conference Paper]


There is evidence that many heating, ventilating & air conditioning (HVAC) systems, installed in larger buildings, have more capacity than is ever required to keep the occupants comfortable. This paper explores the reasons why this can occur, by examining a typical brief/design/documentation process. Over-sized HVAC systems cost more to install and operate and may not be able to control thermal comfort as well as a "right-sized" system. These impacts are evaluated, where data exists. Finally, some suggestions are developed to minimise both the extent of, and the negative impacts of, HVAC system over-sizing, for example:

  • Challenge "rules of thumb" and/or brief requirements which may be out of date.
  • Conduct an accurate load estimate, using AIRAH design data, specific to project location, and then resist the temptation to apply "safety factors"
  • Use a load estimation program that accounts for thermal storage and diversification of peak loads for each zone and air handling system.
  • Select chiller sizes and staged or variable speed pumps and fans to ensure good part load performance.
  • Allow for unknown future tenancies by designing flexibility into the system, not by over-sizing. For example, generous sizing of distribution pipework and ductwork will allow available capacity to be redistributed.
  • Provide an auxiliary tenant condenser water loop to handle high load areas.
  • Consider using an Integrated Design Process, build an integrated load and energy use simulation model and test different operational scenarios
  • Use comprehensive Life Cycle Cost analysis for selection of the most optimal design solutions.

This paper is an interim report on the findings of CRC-CI project 2002-051-B, Right-Sizing HVAC Systems, which is due for completion in January 2006.

Additional Information

Item Type: Conference Paper
Collection: CRC for Construction Innovation
Keywords: CRC for Construction Innovation; Program B : Sustainable Built Assets; Project 2002-051-B : Right-sizing Airconditioning Systems
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2014 03:15
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 07:04
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Icon.Net Pty Ltd
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URI: https://digitalcollections.qut.edu.au//id/eprint/1797
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