HVAC plans are used to make and maintain systems of heating and air conditioning. HVAC plan is an important part of building planning. It is developed for private family houses as well as for apartment and public buildings.


The main purposes of a Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system are to help maintain good indoor air quality through adequate ventilation with filtration and provide thermal comfort. HVAC systems are among the largest energy consumers in schools. The choice and design of the HVAC system can also affect many other high performance goals, including water consumption (water cooled air conditioning equipment) and acoustics

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Technical Feature

Technical Feature

HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. It is a process of treating the air to control its temperature, humidity, filtering and distributing it to meet the comfort requirements of the occupant or people in the conditioned space (room). Temperatures at which people feel comfortable varies depending upon the season. In summer it will be 250C (780F) and in winter it is 200C (680F) with a relative humidity of 30% – 60%. The temperature can be measured in degree centigrade (0C = [(0F-32) x5/9)] or by degree Fahrenheit [0F =(0c x 9/5)+32]. Heat transfers from a hot body to a cold body through conduction in solid matters, through convection in liquids or radiation in gases. Heat also transfers through other ways or means i.e. Walls (exterior & partition), glass (windows/doors), roof, floor, people, lights (bulbs, tubes, decorative lights, etc) and equipment (computer, refrigerator, motor, mixers, etc.). By using HVAC, we can control the temperature, humidity, filtration, and airflow. HVAC can be used in houses and villas (Residential), offices (commercial), hospitals and pharmaceuticals, Malls and theaters, Industries, Educational institutes (Schools, Colleges, Classes) and various others places( Aircrafts, etc).  

1. Compressor: It is known as the heart of the HVAC system which pumps refrigerant to the system. It separates the high-pressure system from the low-pressure system. If the compressor fails, there will be no cooling.

2. Condenser: It has coils which help to get rid of the heat from the space or room. It can be of two types, namely, Air-cooled type(located outside, in open) or Water cooled type(located inside, cooled with cooling tower). The condenser requires periodic maintenance and cleaning as dirt from air or water gets trapped in it.

3. Evaporator: It provides cool air into the room. This is located after the air filter. It helps in removing moisture from the refrigerant(air/water). As it filters dirt and dust from refrigerant(air/water), requires periodic maintenance.

4. Fan: The fan helps to intake fresh or ambient air from the atmosphere and helps to mix it across the evaporator coil. It is in front of or behind the evaporator coil.

5. Expansion Valve: It provides required refrigerant to the evaporator coil for proper cooling of the room. It separates the high-pressure system from the low-pressure system and is located at the evaporator coil. If the valve fails, it will cause compressor failure resulting in loss of cooling in the system.

Refrigeration Cycle: The basic refrigeration cycle consists of 4 major components (Compressor, Condenser coil, Expansion valve and Evaporator). The hot air/water depending upon the system when compressed passes through the condenser coil, heat is rejected to outside(atmosphere), passes through the expansion valve, provides the required air or refrigerant for proper cooling and passes to the evaporator coil which helps in cooling of the refrigerant or liquid and sending the cool liquid or gas to the compressor. This is the basic refrigeration or cooling cycle. The refrigerant is normally referred in TR and 1 TR is the amount of heat to be extracted from the atmosphere(room) for melting one metric ton of ice in 24 hours or 1TR = 12000 BTU/Hr.

Cooling load calculation: The factors to be considered while calculating the cooling load are, the space(Area) of the room, the glass exposed to sun and partition walls if any, the ambient temperature, the load due to light, equipment and occupancy, fresh air requirement, filtration and infiltration of outside air. 2. Equipment or system selection: The selection of the system depends on budget, need or purpose of HVAC, space and power availability, floor, beam and column layout, use of space and outside condition. 3. Air/Water or refrigerant distribution design: Depending upon the cooling required, system selection, one can design or select the type of refrigeration system, i.e. air, water or refrigerant system. 4. Evaluation of the system to be used: Once the above three is selected or calculated, we can evaluate the system with top-three selection for proper and accurate system selection.

The components and layout of mechanical air distribution are important because they can improve both the comfort of occupied spaces and reduce energy use.  Although the fans that distribute the air do not consume nearly as much energy as the equipment that generates the heating and cooling, it doesn’t matter how efficient the equipment is if the air is not distributed well.  Furthermore, leaky ductwork can cause 20 – 40% of heating and cooling energy loss.

Heating and cooling must be well-distributed for everyone to be comfortable.

Successful air distribution is measured both by its thermal comfort performance and its energy efficiency.  The efficiency of air handling systems can be holistically measured by measuring the electricity use of the fans.

Delivering Heating And Cooling

Small-scale HVAC units can simply pull room air in, heat or cool it, and return it to the room.  However, systems for large buildings are much more complex.

Large buildings typically have HVAC central plants that use chilled water (“CHW”) and hot water (“HW”) to move heating and cooling to central air handlers.  From there, the heated or cooled air is delivered to different rooms and/or cooling zones by mechanical air distribution systems, which are comprised of ducts or plenums, fans, and dampers to adjust the volume of air entering occupied spaces.

Dehumidification is also delivered along with cooling (see humidity control).

Also, the most efficient systems by supplement or replace forced air systems with radiant temperature systems, passive heating, and/or natural ventilation.

Where to Heat and Cool

The first step in keeping occupants comfortable with an HVAC system is to understand where and when you’ll need to heat and cool, and setting up an appropriate “zoning” strategy.

Efficient HVAC design starts with the architect, whether they know it or not.  Architects can enable less complicated and energy-intensive mechanical systems by creating spaces that avoid hot spots and cold spots, or separating areas that receive more or less passive heat so they can use separate HVAC zones.


Zones are locations in the building that have different heating or cooling needs.  This can be the result of a different activity within different spaces (exercise room vs. meeting room), different room occupancy, or different loads on different spaces.

Each room may be a different zone, one zone might contain several rooms, or one room might contain more than one zone (particularly if it is a deep room with one side of large sun-facing windows).  In deep buildings, areas away from direct influence of outside sun or other effects are called “core” zones. Comfort here usually has to be provided entirely by active HVAC systems.

Hot Spots and Cold Spots

Unfortunately, HVAC distribution is never as simple as just pumping in hot air when it is too cold and cold air when it is too hot. The person sitting in the summer sun next to the window may be quite comfortable while those at their desks near the elevator core are freezing. Such a situation requires complex zoning strategies.

In centralized HVAC systems, sometimes cold spots are dealt with by putting separate small heaters on the air outlets. Then, when the chiller on the roof produces air at 12°C to meet the requirements of the person by the window, the heaters near the elevators can heat the air back up to 16°C so that the people there do not freeze. Such a system is obviously inefficient – and should be avoided.

Serving Different Zones

Different zones can be given warmer or cooler air by having separate HVAC units and separate ductwork paths, though this is generally costly.

Increasing or decreasing the airflow (with the same temperature air) in different zones is cheaper and more common. This can be provided most easily and cheaply with dampers, or with different fans and duct systems for more extreme situations.

Designing systems that individual occupants can adjust is also helpful.  This way everyone can be comfortable, whether they are in a warmer spot or cooler spot, are wearing lighter or heavier clothing, or simply like to be warmer or cooler than others. Human comfort is subjective, and if people aren’t comfortable in your building it will compromise all of your efforts at energy efficiency.

Equipment for Delivering Air

Centralized system will generally have its heating and cooling equipment tucked away in a maintenance room and/or the roof, and will move heated or cooled air to different zones by ducts or plenums, fans, and dampers.

Ducts and Plenums

Ducts or plenums provide the pathways for air.  Plenums are more open spaces for air circulation, while ductwork provides defined pathways.

There must always be a supply path and a return or exhaust path.   The return path generally brings used air back to be recycled into the building but mixed with some percentage of outside air to maintain freshness.  This saves energy, as it avoids conditioning more outside air.  However, some laboratories and other programs require 100% outside air for health and safety.

Ductwork exposed in a building without a drop ceiling.

Plenums can provide less resistance to airflow and have slower-moving air.  While this can be advantageous, they can also be more expensive and are not appropriate for space-constrained buildings.


Fans push or pull air around the system.  The simplest air distribution systems use constant fan speed and constant-size damper openings.  However, Variable Air Volume (“VAV”) systems change fan speed on the fly, saving up to 10 – 20% of HVAC energy use.

Variable Air Volume fan system (image source: Wikipedia)


Vents or dampers are valves that allow some or all of the airflow through a duct to be cut off.  They can be manually operated by building occupants, or automatically operated by centralized control systems.  

Dampers are the simplest and least expensive way to regulate the amount of heating, cooling, and ventilation to different parts of a room or building.  However, they cause resistance to air flow, which makes fans operate less efficiently, so they should not be overused.


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