Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems account for 39 percent of the energy consumed in commercial buildings. Industries that use or emit harmful chemicals rely on customized designs to help increase efficiency and keep emissions within Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines.
The unique attributes of each facility impact the overall design, size, and positioning of an HVAC system. If designed well, these systems can help manufacturing plants focus on production and reduce energy costs.
Basic HVAC Design
Manufacturing plants use HVAC systems to heat, ventilate, and cool large interior spaces. The type of action required depends on the facility’s air quality needs. HVAC units can be adjusted to address a particular environment, utilizing one or all three systems.
Depending on where the facility is situated, the type of emissions it produces, the size of the building, and the air quality within each section, the requirements of a design will differ. For example, if the building struggles with humidity, manufacturers may install air-conditioning units that rely on latent cooling methods instead of sensible cooling methods. Similarly, if the facility must ventilate a high concentration of harmful gasses from the air, it should employ a combination of natural and active ventilation designs.
Unique Design Requirements for Specific Facilities
In some cases, the design of an HVAC system must incorporate several components at once. Manufacturing plants that emit harmful pollutants and require heating need a customized HVAC system that ventilates the toxic air while providing essential warmth. How well these two elements work together is down to the installation of an intelligently designed system.
Changing environments inside and outside the facility must be considered when designing an HVAC system. Temperature fluctuations throughout the year, as well as any scheduled production changes, can impact the efficiency of the unit. Facilities must take into account any routine shifts in the environment and install complex control panels to address these fluctuations. For example, if the climate surrounding the plant ranges from freezing temperatures to excessive heat, designers must install units that can easily switch between both tasks and place the equipment in areas that require the most attention. Systems that are specifically designed to react and adjust to a particular environment can help plant owners maintain EPA air quality standards and avoid disruptions in production.
Things to Consider When Designing an Efficient HVAC System
HVAC design encompasses various elements, including space, fuel capacity, indoor environments, and structural features. You should consider the following design tips when installing or updating your HVAC system.
- Take into account the integrity and insulation of any exterior walls that may negatively impact heat exchange systems. The location of each component is crucial for energy efficiency.
- Design your HVAC system as early as possible during the construction or re-fitting of a facility. Having the ability to insulate and modify the building can help HVAC units work more efficiently.
- Know what energy loads are specific to your plant and calculate the unit’s size based on those figures. Oversized systems in facilities that only require small loads can waste energy and cost more money than necessary.
- If possible, design the system to take advantage of any off-peak rates offered by utility companies or over-night cooling systems that help curb energy consumption during the day.
Consulting an HVAC design specialist and drafting a specific system for your manufacturing plant can help you reach air quality goals, lower costs, and keep production schedules on track.