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HVAC system components may be grouped into three functional categories:

source components, distribution components and delivery components.

Source components to provide cooling/remove heat and to add/remove

moisture (e.g. chiller, heating system etc)
Distribution components convey energy from a source location to building
that require conditioning (e.g. air-handling unit , fan coil unit etc)
Delivery components serve as an interface between the distribution system
and occupied space (e.g. diffuser, grille etc...)


(Up to 5 RT)

(Up to 20 RT)

(beyond 20 RT)

Central systems are defined as those in which the cooling is generated in a chiller
and distributed to air handling unit (AHU) or fan coil unit (FCU) with a chilled
water distribution system.
The following are type of chillers and typical machine range:

Thermal Energy Storage

Chilled water storage tank

Ice cell

Chilled water storage tank

Ice cell

Ice ball storage tank


The essential elements of delivery side cooling equipment are:
Air handling equipment: Controls temperature, humidity, and quality
of air.
Supply network: Distributes conditioned air to different part of the
building. Ducts required.
Return path: Carries air back to the delivery unit (AHU). Ducting is
Exhaust: Required to get rid of odors and air contaminants.
Fresh air inlet: Required to replace exhaust air and maintain an
acceptable level of air quality.

Air Handling Unit (AHU)

Central system: Consists of more than one AHU served by the same source

of heat and/or cooling. These are usually custom built for particular application.
Unitary equipment: Consists of a factory-assembled AHU and cooling
compressor contained within a compact enclosure. It is distinguished from a
room air conditioner by its capability of being connected to a ductwork. These
are further categorized as package terminal air conditioners, rooftop systems
and split systems.
Packaged Unit: The packaged unit is the primary equipment in a packaged

air-conditioning system and is always equipped with a DX coil for cooling,

unlike an AHU. The portion that handles air in a packaged unit is called an air
handler to distinguish it from an AHU.


return air


supply air
outside air

Fan Coil Unit (FCU)

FCU is a small-scale air handling unit with circulation fan, cooling/heating coil,
filter, and appropriate controls. It is essentially a terminal device because it
serves only one room or a small group of rooms.

Cooling coil

Fan Coil Unit (FCU)

Duct System
Air conditioning system requires some form of duct work to channel or direct
the air to places where the conditioned air is needed. The power that causes
the air to move through the supply ducts is supplied by the fan in the AHU unit
and the motor that drives the fan.

Duct System

Supply grill

Return grill

Air louver





[hot refrigerant gas

from compressor]

[cold liquid
refrigerant to
Make-up water

Mechanical draft CT

Natural draft CT


1. Direct expansion vs indirect expansion

2. Single zone vs multi zone

3. VAV vs CAV


Details of architecture:
Structure, orientation, geographical location, altitude, shape, modules- size
& height.
Purpose of the building, area classification, occupancy and usage pattern.
Ratio of internal to external zones, glazing, plant room sitting, space for
service distribution.
Climate and shading, thermal insulation, passive climate control,
relationship with adjacent buildings.
New or existing building, renovation or extension project, retrofitting or new
Plant and system design to match the characteristic of the building and the
need to meet the needs (known and unknown) of the ultimate occupants.

Details of Space allocation:

Floor space and clear heights to accommodate HVAC plant, equipment,
distribution and room elements.
Shaft spaces available for routing ducts/pipes etc..
Location and size of structural column and beam, clearance through
steelwork, position of reinforcing rod etc
Ceiling height, clearance between suspended ceiling and beam.
Foundation and supports requirement, permissible loading etc
Location of obstructions that may be in the route of air-conditioning
services, particularly ductwork and piping.

Details of building construction:

Materials and thickness of wall, roof, ceiling, floor and partition and their
relative positions in the structure, thermal and vapor transmittance
coefficients, area and type of glazing, external building finishes and color,
shading devices at windows (overhang).
Sound and vibration control requirement, relation of air-conditioning
equipment to critical area.
Coordination with other services (e.g. electrical and plumbing work), use of
service shaft, duct and equipment room.

Building regulations
Government and local regulation on occupancy & safety classification.
Regulations of public utilities on electrical wiring, power usage, water
supply and drainage.
Health and safety regulations on indoor air quality, ventilation air
quantities, noise control, electrical, fuel, insulation and other hazardous
Local fire authority regulations and smoke removal systems.
Insurance company regulations.

Miscellaneous Requirements
Accessibility for installation of equipment, space for maintenance.
Location of fresh air intakes and exhausts (to avoid short-circuiting and
Location of fire zones and fire walls (position of fire dampers).
Acceptable noise level: space available to house equipment and its
location relative to the conditioned space.
Indoor & outdoor equipment preferences.
Acceptability of components obtruding into the conditioned space.
Plumbing arrangements, drains location, capacity, restriction on

System considerations:
Thermal influence Solar gain, ambient conditions (dry bulb/wet bulb
temperatures), indoor condition (dry bulb/relative humidity) requirements,
heat gain from people, artificial lighting, equipment and machinery,
ventilation air load etc
System behavior Thermal comfort, indoor air quality, peak loads, partial
loads, average load conditions and pattern of variation, capacity of the
system etc
Load behavior Sensible and latent heat balance, load diversity and
system response related to thermal capacity storage effects.
Psychrometric processes engineer prefer to carry out their calculations
on a psychrometric chart of the aspects include actual vapor pressure,
relative humidity, moisture content, specific enthalpy, specific volume and
dewpoint temperature etc...
Operation philosophy- hours of system operation.

System considerations (cont.)

Control systems- zone or individual control, system response and lags,
permissible tolerances and time system, direct digital controls, sequence of
operations and control logic etc
Energy efficiency- energy availability, level & pattern of energy use, type of
system, peak load and part load energy performance, variable speed drive,
energy efficient equipment, building management systems, economizer
controls, zoning requirements etc
Control and operational requirements supervision, records, type of
adjustment and regulation, hours of operation, summer/winter changeover,
day/night and weekend operation, high/low limit protection, frost protection,
fire protection, special control areas (e.g. computer rooms, executive
offices) etc
Redundancy- spare & standby requirements, equipment configuration
Technology features humidification/dehumidification requirements, air
purity, special acoustic treatment, fire protection & smoke management,
water service capacity, pressure, maximum temperature, chemical
analysis (choice of materials), water treatment etc