HVAC Design

A building's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) creates interior comfort by compensating for climatic conditions. Many efficient HVAC system design options exist than those used in current practice and must be explored by designers pursuing high performance buildings.


  • Case Studies: Zero-Net Energy New Home - Ontairo
    October 5, 2014
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    This Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) home – now built and occupied in Ontario, California – demonstrates to the Southern California homebuilder community that ZNE homes can be constructed using prevalent building practices and sold for a reasonable incremental cost.

    The main tasks of this project were to collaborate with a progressive expert homebuilder to design and construct a ZNE home based on mutually agreed upon technologies and practices, learning together to help overcome existing market barriers to ZNE homes.

    Some of the key findings of this project include ...

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  • Trigger Sheet: Nonresidential HVAC Built-up Alterations
    July 22, 2014
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    Trigger Sheets: This handy trigger sheet summarizes sections of Title 24, Part 6 energy code that are triggered based on project scope.  The sections indicated on these trigger sheets can help identify energy code requirements for your project.

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  • Trigger Sheet: Small Commercial HVAC Changeouts
    July 22, 2014
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    Trigger Sheets: This handy trigger sheet summarizes sections of Title 24, Part 6 energy code that are triggered based on project scope.  The sections indicated on these trigger sheets can help identify energy code requirements for your project.

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  • Trigger Sheet: Nonresidential HVAC Controls
    July 7, 2014
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    Trigger Sheets: This handy trigger sheet summarizes sections of Title 24, Part 6 energy code that are triggered based on project scope.  The sections indicated on these trigger sheets can help identify energy code requirements for your project.

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  • Design Brief: Displacement Ventilation 2.0
    June 25, 2014

    Displacement ventilation provides improved IAQ, cooling energy savings, and better acoustics for high performance buildings.

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  • Design Brief: Demand Response
    June 17, 2013
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    Demand response (DR) is an energy management strategy that allows electricity consumers to receive financial compensation for temporarily reducing or rescheduling power use upon request. DR creates opportunities for building owners and managers to realize financial, operational, and environmental benefits by changing energy use patterns in response to market signals.

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  • Office of the Future
    October 15, 2012
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    The 'Office of the Future' video presents case studies of two exemplary pilot projects in existing buildings that are yielding measured energy savings of over 50% and 66% respectively.

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  • Design Guidelines: HVAC Simulation Guidebook, Volume I
    July 8, 2012
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    The HVAC Simulation Guidebook Volume I (2nd Edition) has been updated to cite new research and reflect recent changes in the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24 2008). It contains three chapters with step-by-step instructions on how to simulate the following advanced HVAC technologies:

    • Underfloor Air Distribution
    • Energy Efficient Chillers
    • Advanced Control Sequences
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  • e-News #85: Radiant Heating and Cooling
    March 22, 2012

    Radiant heating and cooling systems are more energy efficient compared to traditional forced air systems for several reasons.  But let's start at the building occupant since their comfort is one of the main reasons we have the built environment.

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  • Design Brief: Chiller Plant Efficiency
    June 12, 2010
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    Though more costly to install and more complicated to operate, a chiller plant offers a number of benefits over simple packaged cooling units, including greater energy efficiency, better controllability, and longer life.

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  • Design Guidelines: Advanced Variable Air Volume (VAV) Systems
    May 12, 2010
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    The Advanced Variable Air Volume (VAV) System Design Guide (Design Guide) is written for Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) designers and focuses on built-up VAV systems in multi-story commercial office buildings in California.

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  • Design Brief: Air Conditioning & Ventilation
    May 12, 2010
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    Using 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.

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  • Design Brief: Advanced Variable-Air-Volume (VAV) Systems
    April 28, 2010

    This Advanced VAV System Design Brief provides recommendations to help engineers improve the efficiency of large HVAC systems. It focuses on built-up variable-air-volume (VAV) systems in multistory office buildings.

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  • Design Brief: Drivepower
    March 31, 2010
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    To truly minimize the energy use of a drivepower system-which includes the motor, its controls, and the connection between the motor and the equipment it drives-designers need to consider how these components operate as a system rather than looking at them on an individual basis.

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  • e-News #71: Evaporative Cooling: Saving Energy in More Ways Than Ever
    March 31, 2010
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    Evaporative coolers provide cool air by forcing hot dry air over a wetted pad. The water in the pad evaporates, removing heat from the air while adding moisture. Although the concept has been used in residential "swamp" coolers in the Southwest for decades, technology advances have made evaporative cooling a viable alternative to conventional cooling in commercial buildings and in other areas of the country.

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