Skip to main content
Savings By Design Award Winner
Energy Design Resources is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Design Brief: Air Conditioning & Ventilation

May 13, 2010
 
Please rate this resource: 

Table of ContentsUsing the whole-systems approach to building design, designers around the world have succeeded at creating highly efficient air-conditioning systems that provide excellent workspace comfort.

Air conditioning and ventilation systems can significantly affect a building's profitability. These systems consume about one-fourth of an office building's electricity, and they often have a strong influence on worker productivity. (Many workers report that their workplaces are too hot or too cold.)

Despite this, designers often do not give these systems the attention they deserve during the design process. Opportunities to improve cooling and ventilation efficiency often are overlooked.

The "whole-systems" approach described in this publication can help designers create highly efficient air conditioning systems that also provide excellent workspace comfort. This approach includes:

  • Minimizing unwanted heat gains to reduce cooling loads.
  • Designing air distribution systems and cooling plants to meet those reduced cooling loads (which offers savings in both capital and operating costs).
  • Specifying high-efficiency cooling plants.


The whole-systems approach can yield substantial benefits. In one building, worker productivity improved by 16 percent and electricity use dropped 40 percent. In another, a new whole-systems design allowed operators to maintain thermal comfort in a hot climate without electrically powered air conditioning or ventilation systems.

Virtually any air conditioning and ventilation design can be improved through the whole-systems approach to solving problems.

The first edition of this design brief was prepared for Energy Design Resources in 2004. Between January and April of 2010, an engineering review of this document was conducted to update passages affected by recent changes in the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24 2008). The original content creator was not actively involved in this engineering review, and therefore is not responsible for the updates to the affected passages.

 
Follow EDR on Twitter LinkedIn

Related EDR Resources

Daylighting Guidelines
Skylighting Guidelines
Daylighting
Design For Your Climate
High Intensity Fluorescent Lighting
Improving Mechanical System Energy Efficiency
Integrated Building Design
Lighting Controls
Options & Opportunities
Skylights with Suspended Ceilings

Other Resources

The inclusion of links does not imply endorsement by EDR of any other site, or its contents, or any association with any of its operators.

Association of Energy Engineers (AEE)

Association of Energy Engineers

Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) thumbnail

A source for information and networking in the dynamic fields of energy engineering, energy management, renewable and alternative energy, power generation, energy services, sustainability, and all related areas.

source for information and networking in the dynamic fields of energy engineering and energy management, renewable and alternative energy, power generation, energy services, sustainability, and all related areas. - See more at: http://www.aeecenter.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1#sthash.wQwnURP0.dpuf
source for information and networking in the dynamic fields of energy engineering and energy management, renewable and alternative energy, power generation, energy services, sustainability, and all related areas. - See more at: http://www.aeecenter.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1#sthash.wQwnURP0.dpuf
source for information and networking in the dynamic fields of energy engineering and energy management, renewable and alternative energy, power generation, energy services, sustainability, and all related areas. - See more at: http://www.aeecenter.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1#sthash.wQwnURP0.dpuf
source for information and networking in the dynamic fields of energy engineering and energy management, renewable and alternative energy, power generation, energy services, sustainability, and all related areas. - See more at: http://www.aeecenter.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1#sthash.wQwnURP0.dpuf
source for information and networking in the dynamic fields of energy engineering and energy management, renewable and alternative energy, power generation, energy services, sustainability, and all related areas. - See more at: http://www.aeecenter.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1#sthash.wQwnURP0.dpuf

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) thumbnail

ASHRAE's mission is to advance the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world. Membership is open to any person associated with the field.

Motor Challenge Information Clearinghouse

Department of Energy

Motor Challenge Information Clearinghouse thumbnail

Motor Challenge is a voluntary partnership program with U.S. industry to promote the use of energy-efficient electric motor systems.

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)

Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute

Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) thumbnail

AHRI produces more than 90 percent of the residential and commercial air conditioning, heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment made in North America. Through our certification program, standards, advocacy, and other activities, we strive to help save energy, improve productivity, and ensure a better environment.

Copyright (c) 1999 – 2014, Energy Design Resources. All Rights Reserved.