HVAC engineering is an important element of the building design process, dealing with the electrical and mechanical systems that keep a suitable indoor environment for human occupancy. With smart decisions during project design, the performance of HVAC systems can be enhanced while optimizing their cost.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems include some of the largest equipment pieces in a building, such as chillers and boilers. As you might expect, these components can add significant costs to the project budget, but there are also many ways to cut costs without compromising performance.
HVAC installations are characterized by the variety of options available, and the best system configuration changes depending on building conditions. Costs can increase dramatically when an HVAC system is not a good match for the building in question, hence the importance of selecting adequate equipment.
Importance of a Smart Equipment Layout in HVAC Engineering
HVAC systems use many components that interact with each other, and dramatic cost reductions are possible with a smart layout. The following are some examples of simple decisions that reduce the cost of HVAC installations:
- Chiller plants consume large amounts of electricity, requiring large and expensive wiring. By minimizing the distance between electric service equipment and chillers, the cost of these feeder circuits can be reduced dramatically.
- A similar principle applies for the gas piping used by boilers and furnaces. As the distance between the gas supply and these devices becomes longer, the installation cost increases significantly.
- HVAC systems deliver or remove heat with water depend on hydronic piping, which typically connects chillers and boilers with air-handling units. The cost of these piping systems can be reduced by minimizing their total length.
- The same logic applies for air ducts: A smart layout of air outlets can minimize the duct length needed, reducing the total cost of the system.
A qualified HVAC engineering firm can design an optimal layout for your installation, reducing total cost while meeting technical performance requirements. Advanced MEP design software is very useful when optimizing the layout of building systems, since it provides a three-dimensional model to visualize the final result. Equipment location conflicts that are not evident in conventional 2D drawings can be easily detected and fixed when working in three dimensions.
Why Optimal Equipment Capacity is Important in HVAC Engineering
Many unnecessary expenses in building projects are the result of oversized equipment. Consider that equipment prices tend to increase along with capacity, increasing the total project cost without offering any benefit in return.
Oversized equipment can increase the required size of other components, adding even more expenses. For example, oversized air conditioning systems draw a higher current, and they require larger electrical circuits as a result. In turn, larger circuits increase the size of conduit, circuit breakers and even transformers.
HVAC engineering services can help you optimize the capacity of building equipment, reducing not only their cost but also that of associated components. Oversizing brings no benefit in HVAC installations, while making your project more expensive. Also consider that maintenance costs are higher with oversized equipment.