Are You Planning Your HVAC System Correctly?

Architects often do not place enough emphasis on HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) systems at designing stage; more often than not, it is just an afterthought! It is crucial to understand the importance of creating sustainable, self-sufficient structures which is incidentally possible only through an integrated approach. Good HVAC systems are not only a crucial element in a building, they also offers high returns on investments when selected wisely. Since the HVAC equipment are expensive and have a long life, it is difficult to replace an under-performing system without adding a significant amount to the operations cost.

The performance of the HVAC systems will often depend on the solar orientation of the site, design of the building, choice of roofing, facade etc. Solar gain through windows, air filtration, heat load from artificial lighting will all have considerable effect on the HVAC. There are energy modelling software and consultants with the know-how on the building performance testing industry who can ensure the optimum performance of these systems. It is very important to plan your HVAC system at design stage and even more important to invest in a good software to manage it. These investments will sooner or later be justified by the savings available from load reduction and HVAC savings.

On that note, Archh caught up with Bengaluru-based HVAC consultant and expert Ananth Kumar who shared his knowledge on general industry trends and consumer buying habits.
What is the impact of HVAC on one’s utility bills? How can one lower it?
As we know that the majority of the energy consumption in any facility is on HVAC, surprisingly it is close to 50% to 55% on the commercial developments. With lots of development on energy conservation, renewable energy is on the cards nowadays and many companies follow it as a mandate and spend huge on this regard. Keeping this as a major impact in all respects, the sustainability design, energy-efficient design is being practiced now. Even then the utility bills are high due to lots of factors pertaining to operation and maintenance of the system. This can be definitely lowered down by using the intelligent building management system installed for the equipments, proper routine maintenance of all the equipments, seasonal programming of the system operations, maintaining the logs and consistently studying the trends and operating the plant accordingly, using the sensors and automating the equipments etc.
What factors must architects consider while picking the right HVAC system?
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