HVAC system types

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There are many different types of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems. Choosing an appropriate system requires consideration of many factors such as:

  • Climate - the HVAC system must have capacity to meet the building's heating and cooling loads. In areas with extreme temperatures, some system types may be more capable of providing adequate cooling or heating.
  • Building size - the size and layout of the building may influence the system selection. For example, a large building with many thermal zones may be more likely to use a multi-zone system rather than many single zone systems.
  • Building usage - different types of buildings have different usage patterns that may require different HVAC system choices. For example, a hospital will have different HVAC requirements compared to a school or an office building.
  • Energy efficiency goals - different systems have different energy efficiency ratings, and this will impact the cost of operating the system, and environmental impacts.
  • Cost - the cost of installing and operating an HVAC system is also an important consideration. Some systems are more expensive to install but may be more energy-efficient and have lower operating costs in the long run.

This page provides a listing of many common HVAC system options with links to detailed descriptions of:

  • How the system works
  • What information is needed for the simulation model
  • Common efficiency measures and control options for the system
  • Common applications for the system
  • Guidance on how to perform quality assurance of the model
  • Energy code requirements that may be applicable to the system type

Air-side systems

Multi-zone systems

Single-zone systems

  • Heat pump - note that heat pumps come in many different configurations so they may be multi-zone, single-zone, or zonal depending on the design

Zonal systems

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