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HVAC Systems II: All-Air Systems and Temperature Control

Slide 1: HVAC Systems II
Welcome to the course HVAC Systems II: All-Air Systems and Temperature Control.

Slide 2: ASHRAE
This course was produced with the support of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and
Air-Conditioning Engineers, or ASHRAE.

Slide 3: How to Use This Course
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Slide 4: Objectives
This course is the second in a series of three courses: HVAC Systems I-III. In the first course, you
learned the processes included in HVAC and examined a simple type of all-air system.

At the completion of this course, you will be able to explain the impact of constant volume,
variable air volume (VAV), and reheat on the energy efficiency of all-air systems; describe
methods for implementing zones in single-duct systems; explain the purpose of independent
perimeter systems; describe an economizer cycle and its benefits; describe a simple dual-duct
all-air system and its impact on energy efficiency; and describe a simple multizone all-air system
and its impact on energy efficiency.

In the following courses, you will look at some other configurations for all-air systems and look at
alternatives for incorporating water as the thermal medium.

Slide 5: Introduction
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are essential to maintain a comfortable and
productive environment. One of the primary determinants of comfort in an environment is the
temperature. Therefore, effective energy-efficient temperature control is a high priority in HVAC

Slide 6: Temperature Control
In the previous course, you began looking at all-air systems. In all-air systems, temperature
control is provided by varying either the quantity or the temperature of the supplied air through the
use of constant flow volume, variable air volume, reheat, face and bypass dampers, or a
combination of these.

Click each tab to learn more about these temperature control methods.

Constant Flow Volume:
In the constant flow volume method, the same volume of air is continually supplied, but at higher
or lower temperatures. Flow control of the heating or cooling source medium is used to vary the
air temperature, for example by supplying more or less refrigerant, or chilled or hot water.

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In the VAV method, the temperature of the supplied air is kept constant, but the amount of air is
increased or decreased in order to manage the temperature in the zone.

In the reheat method, the air is cooled to remove humidity, and then reheated according to the
sensible heat load required in the building. Using this method is restricted by some building codes
because of its poor energy efficiency.

Face and Bypass Dampers:
In the face and bypass dampers method, part of the airflow is cooled to remove humidity, and
then blended with bypassed air to match sensible load.

Slide 7: Constant Volume
Take a look at the constant volume approach. In the single-duct, single-zone system you looked
at in the first course in this series, temperature control could be achieved by changing the supply
air temperature. In this case, the supply fan will run constantly, always supplying the same
volume of air to the space.

When the space needs more cooling, more cold water will be sent to the cooling coil. Because
more water is moving through the coil, it will pick up heat from the airstream more quickly and the
air will be colder. Notice that more cold water is being sent to remove the heat, not colder water,
which still results in colder air.

When the space needs more heating, more hot water, or steam will be sent to the heating coil.

Constant volume systems tend to have poor energy efficiency because fans run continuously.

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Slide 8: Single-Duct, Zoned Reheat, Constant Volume
The approach you saw in HVAC Systems I for a single-duct, single zone system is not very

The reheat system is a modification that permits the space to be divided into different zones.
Zone control is achieved by reheating the cool airflow to the temperature required for a particular

Take a look at the schematic diagram for a typical primary air reheat system. As implied by the
word reheat, heat is applied as a secondary process to centrally cooled air. The heating medium
may be hot water, steam, or electricity.

Slide 9: Terminal Units
Terminal units are added to the distribution system to provide localized control for each zone.

Terminal units in reheat systems are located either under a window or in the overhead ductwork

These units are designed to permit heating of primary air from the supply duct or secondary air
that is induced from the conditioned space. The conditioned air is supplied from a central unit at a
fixed cold air temperature designed to offset the maximum cooling load in any zone supplied by
the air handling unit.

A zone thermostat controls the amount of reheat required for the zone.

Reheat systems, when permitted, are used in a variety of locations, including hospital laboratories,
office buildings, spaces with wide load variations, spaces with high latent loads, and process or
comfort applications where close thermal control of space conditions is required.

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Slide 10: Advantages and Disadvantages of Reheat Systems
Reheat systems can provide excellent control over space humidity. However, using them should
generally be avoided, due to their high energy consumption and operating costs.

Lets take a closer look of the advantages and disadvantages of these systems.

The advantages of reheat systems are:

They permit simple zone control for areas with unequal loads.
They provide simultaneous heating or cooling of perimeter areas with different
They maintain very close control over space humidity.
Generally, they can accomplish dehumidification independently of sensible cooling,
which other systems cannot.
They offer the designer infinite zoning capabilities during design.
And, they allow zones to be easily revised during construction or occupancy. Changes
require only the addition of a heating coil or terminal unit, and a thermostat.

The disadvantages of reheat systems are:

They have high energy consumption if not properly designed and controlled.
They are generally considered the least efficient approach and many energy codes
severely restrict their use.
They function by adding heat to cooled air to provide zone temperature control. This
basically wastes energy and is therefore uneconomical.
They require heating coils with piping or electrical supply for every zone.

Slide 11: Improving Reheat Energy Efficiency
The economic problems of reheat systems can be reduced by certain methods.

Click each tab to learn more.

Vary Supply Air Volume:
Varying supply air volume using a VAV approach is something you will look at in more detail
shortly. A constant volume system results in maximum reheat energy usage. Allowing the airflow
volume to decrease as the space load decreases will eliminate reheat until a minimum airflow is
reached. The minimum airflow is generally limited by the number of occupants, who will require a
certain amount of fresh air to maintain indoor air quality, or by humidity control. This approach
results in a VAV reheat system.

Reset Supply Air Temperature:
Resetting the supply air temperature is another approach. If it is cooler outside, or not as sunny,
the system could provide cool air but at a slightly warmer supply temperature. Then reheat is less
likely to be needed in most zones. Discriminating controls can be used to accomplish this
adjustment automatically.

Heat Recovery:

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A third approach is using heat recovery; for example, using heat rejected from the refrigeration
cycle of another internal heat source. However, note that the air handler in a reheat system
initially cools air more than necessary to meet building loads. This results in a waste of
refrigeration that is not mitigated by the use of heat recovery.

Slide 12: Variable Air Volume (VAV)
Variable air volume can be used to achieve full heating or cooling flexibility in a much more
energy-efficient way than comparable constant-volume systems. This air distribution method is
generally considered to be the most efficient. It can be combined with reheat, and applied in dual-
duct systems as well.

In these systems, the supply air temperature is kept constant and the airflow is adjusted. During
cooling season, the space is provided with cool air to counteract the heat loads of the space.
Spaces with greater heat loads are provided with more air.

Slide 13: Single-Duct, Single-Zone VAV
A single duct, single zone VAV all-air system may be a local system where the system is within
the zone and does not require much ductwork. Or it may be a central system where major
components are at a distance from the zone and the air is distributed by a network of ducts.
These systems are often used in:

Small department stores.
Small individual stores in a shopping center.
Individual classrooms in a school.
Computer rooms.
Hospital operating rooms.
And, large open areas such as gymnasiums, atriums, and warehouses.

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Slide 14: Methods of Varying Supply Air Volume
A simple VAV system is used in cooling-only applications where simultaneous heating and
cooling in different zones is not required. An example is the interior of an office building with
varying cooling loads and no heat loss.

There are several methods of varying the system supply air volume in response to loads. These
methods include:

Speed control with variable drive.
Dumping excess air.
And, using a fan bypass.

Speed control is preferred because Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) are reliable, relatively
inexpensive, and the most energy-efficient VAV option. Less energy is used when fan operation
is slowed to match reduced airflow needs. This assumes that there are varying loads that would
result in reduced airflow needs from time to time. This is discussed in more detail in the courses
on fans.

Dumping excess supply air is a method that keeps the fan speed and volume or air supply
constant, but diverts excess air into a return air ceiling plenum or directly into the return air ducts.
A drawback is overcooling under low load conditions due to air leakage through the ceiling and
radiant cooling from the ceiling surface. Another drawback is if supply air is used for system
balancing, there may not be enough air. Lastly, this is not an energy-efficient approach.

Using a fan bypass to reduce the supply air volume is a third approach; but again, this is not
energy efficient.

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Slide 15: Advantages and Disadvantages of a Single-Zone VAV System
The advantages of single-zone VAV systems include:

They can closely and effectively maintain temperature and humidity.
They can be shut down when required without affecting other areas.
They are fairly energy efficient.
They are easy to control.
And, they can be adapted to economizer cycles using more or less outside air, according
to what is best for energy efficiency.

The disadvantages of single-zone VAV systems include:

They only provide one zone.
They respond to only one set of space conditions, and as a result, they are only suitable
Variations are approximately uniform throughout the building or area served.
The load is stable, such as an interior room.
Costs are a constraint, such as in a single-family residence.

Slide 16: Single-Duct Zoned VAV
Single-duct zoned VAV systems seek to overcome some of the flexibility disadvantages of a
single-zone system. Zones are served by VAV boxes, which change the volume flow of air into
the zone under the control of a zone temperature sensor. The VAV box is generally more
sophisticated than a simple damper. Air from the main duct is at a relatively high and variable
pressure compared with the outlet to the room. The pressure drop creates noise, especially at low
supply volume. The box has a liner to attenuate the sound. The pressure variations also make the
flow varyindependent of the thermostat demandsif a simple damper is used. Instead, a
pressure independent box is required, containing an airflow sensor that maintains a constant
airflow through the box until it is reset to a new value by the temperature requirements.

Slide 17: Throttling and Reheat
For a single-duct zoned VAV to be efficient, the distribution of airflow is throttled down until the
highest load zone has just enough air at the maximum opening. The other zones throttle down
the airflow as needed to their minimum set flow rate. If this cooling rate is still too much, the
supply air can be reheated by a terminal unit at the point of entering the space, or blended with
unconditioned room return air.

VAV reheat or VAV dual-duct can be applied to both interior and perimeter spaces.

A VAV system with reheat allows for control of both temperature and humidity within a space.

Slide 18: Humidity Control
In a single-duct system:

Without reheat, temperature and humidity control offers sensible cooling flexibility, but
cannot provide humidity control independent of temperature.

With reheat, there is flexibility for both temperature and humidity control by using a
cooling coil to cool supply air to the desired humidity, and a reheat coil to raise the dry-

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bulb temperature to the desired value. A VAV system with reheat allows for control of
both temperature and humidity within a space.

Slide 19: Pressure Distribution
Air distribution is very important in VAV systems because supply air volumes are continually
changing. In many countries, one basic design goal is to size supply and return fans along with
the distribution system to maintain a slight positive pressure in the building spaces. Alternatively,
such as in Nordic countries, there may be a goal to maintain a slight negative pressure.

A problem is that the positions of zone control dampers in VAV systems are constantly changing.
Consequently, a single combination of supply fan, return fan, and air distribution system
parameters cannot meet the pressure requirements at all operating conditions.

The best solution is to control the fan pressure via a variable frequency drive. This has the added
advantage of energy conservation. For example, here is an illustration of a typical pressure
distribution. Reducing the capacity will cause a drop in pressure at points A and B. The resulting
pressure can be monitored and the VFD can change the speed to ensure that the deviation from
the desired zone pressure is minimal.

Slide 20: Independent Perimeter Systems
Some VAV systems incorporate an independent perimeter system.

A VAV system serves the interior spaces and handles the building envelope solar gains. This
provides only cooling throughout the year.

A second independent system serves the perimeter non-solar loads. This could be a water-based
heating system that functions only in winter or an electric baseboard radiation system. It could
also be a separate constant-volume air system, using an outdoor or indoor temperature schedule
and constant-volume air supply to offset gains or losses from heat flowing by conduction or
convection at the envelope.

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Slide 21: Independent Perimeter Systems
Since the VAV system takes care of the internal zone load variations and all outdoor air
ventilation requirements, the perimeter system does not require zone control (except to make it
more economical) or an outdoor air component.

The electric or water-based heating-only systems would function only in the winter, and are the
preferred envelope isolation system for cold climates.

Coordination between the two systems will be important to ensure overall energy efficiency.

Also, note that envelope isolation systems are not generally required in buildings with energy-
efficient envelope assemblies, especially high-performance glazing.

Slide 22: Fan-Powered Terminals
Fan-powered terminals provide a minimum or constant airflow to a particular zone, while the
volume of conditioned primary air that is supplied is varied. The airflow is kept constant by
recirculating return air and keeping the sum of the primary air that meets the load and the
recirculated air constant.

Heating elements can be included in the terminal.

They are commonly used in zones with large variations in internal load, such as conference
rooms or occupied spaces during periods of reduced cooling load, in order to ensure good air

Slide 23: Air-Side Economizer Cycle
An air-side economizer cycle is used when the total heat content, including both sensible heat
and latent heat from the humidity of the outdoor air, is lower than the return air. Or you might say
simply when it is colder and/or drier outside than inside.

Conventional air conditioning has to bring in some outdoor air in order to ventilate the space and
reduce contaminants. Since the outdoor air may be hot and require energy to be cooled, the
system brings in as little outdoor air as possible. It recirculates indoor air which has already been
cooled once. However, if the outside air is actually cooler or drier than the inside air, this
approach wastes energy. When outside air is cooler or drier, we want to bring it into the building
for free cooling.

The economizer reduces the energy used for cooling by taking in more cool outdoor air than is
required for ventilation, and releasing the excess warm return air to the outdoors. This can save a
lot of energy. When it is hot outside, the minimum amount of warm outdoor air needed for
ventilation is brought in to keep the maximum of conditioned air inside the space and minimize
the amount of conditioning that has to be done.

The economizer requires a large outdoor air intake and relief of exhaust components, which are
not justified if favorable conditions rarely occur.

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Slide 24: Advantages and Disadvantages of Zoned VAV Systems
In summary, the advantages of zoned VAV systems include:

They are easy to control and allow good zone control.
They can be highly energy efficient.

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They can adapt to an economizer cycle.
They have good flexibility for zone changes.
And, they are suitable for offices, classrooms, and other applications.

All of these advantages make them the system of choice for most commercial and institutional

However, there are disadvantages of zoned VAV systems as well, such as:

Humidity control under widely varying latent load can be difficult.
There is a possibility of poor ventilation, which may result in unacceptable indoor air
quality, particularly under low zone loads.
And, control coordination with heating systems can be complex.

Slide 25: Dual-Duct All-Air Systems
Let's move on from the single-duct systems and examine another approach.

Dual-duct systems distribute air from a central air handler to the conditioned spaces through two
parallel ducts. Zone control is achieved by mixing air from the two air streams in a terminal mixing

In multizone systems, which you will look at next, the requirements of the different zones of a
building are achieved by mixing cold air and warm air and using dampers at the central air-
handling unit in response to zone thermostats.

Slide 26: Advantages and Disadvantages of Dual-Duct All-Air Systems
The advantages of dual-duct all-air systems include:

They do a good job of controlling temperature and humidity.
They can accommodate a variety of zone loads.
They facilitate adding zones or subdividing existing zones.

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And, they can be adapted to constant or variable volume.

The disadvantages of dual-duct all-air systems include:

Energy consumption is relatively high.
Substantial space is required to accommodate two sets of ducts running throughout the
Ductwork not only takes up space, but is extensive and expensive.
A large number of terminal mixing boxes are required, which are expensive and may
require maintenance.
And, these systems hinder the implementation of economizer cycles.

Slide 27: Application
Dual-duct all-air systems were extensively used in office buildings in the 1950s and 1960s.

They can produce good results in moderately humid climates where the outdoor design
conditions do not exceed 25C or 78F wet bulb and 35C or 95F dry bulb, and the minimum
outdoor air is not more than 35 to 40 percent of total air.

These systems are less popular because of their high energy consumption and high initial cost.
The energy consumption can be reduced by applying VAV control to reduce total supply air
during periods of reduced cooling and heating loads.

Slide 28: Using VAV to Reduce Energy Consumption
This illustration shows that VAV controls can be employed in the summer cooling mode. It also
shows reheat in the terminal unit. In a dual-duct system, this would be replaced by hot duct air.
Understand that there are many variations of the dual-duct system, some with two supply fans,
and some with a single supply fan and terminal reheat applied from heat recovery, instead of
heating at the point of entry.

Click the glowing markers to learn more about VAV controls.

In Summer

In summer, cold air supply should be kept just low enough to meet the space cooling and
dehumidification (dew point) requirements. This is usually around 10C to 13C or 50F to 55F
with the air nearly saturated. Warm air temperature is governed by the return air from the
conditioned spaces. The hot duct temperature will always be higher than the average return air
temperature, even if no heat is added by the heating coil. The higher temperature is due to the
heat contributed by outdoor air, fan energy, and recessed lighting fixtures.

In Winter

In winter, cold air temperature is sometimes reset 3C to 6C or 5F to 10F higher for economy
of operation. If internal loads are small, outdoor air may be used for the cold duct supply,
permitting shutdown of the chiller. Maintaining the cold air during the heating season at 13C to
16C or 55F to 60F and raising the warm air temperature as the outdoor temperature decreases

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permits better humidity control and better air balancing between the hot and cold ducts. However,
this increases the energy consumption. The warm air temperature can be adjusted based on the
outdoor temperature.

When the cold air temperature is lower than it needs to be in order to satisfy the cooling
requirement of the warmest zone, an energy penalty results. Conversely, when the warm air
temperature is higher than it needs to be in order to satisfy the heating requirement of the
coldest zone, this also imposes an energy penalty.

Slide 29: Multizone Systems
A multizone system is a specific type of HVAC system. It doesnt mean any system arrangement
with more than one zone. These systems have been successfully applied to small- and medium-
size commercial buildings, and to larger buildings with relatively few zones.

You should understand how the requirements of the different zones of a building are met in a
multizone system. Navigate through this guided diagram with the arrows in the upper right.

Mixing Dampers
Cold air and warm air produced at the air handling unit are mixed to provide appropriate supply
air temperatures, using dampers at the air handling unit.

The dampers are controlled by zone thermostats.

The mixed conditioned air is distributed to specific zones throughout a building by a system of
multiple single-zone ducts. The distribution system downstream of the air handler is a collection
of zone-dedicated ducts. There will be as many ducts as there are zones, to a typical maximum of
about 12 zones.

Return Air
Return air is usually handled in a conventional manner by combining the return air from all zones.

Slide 30: Advantages/Disadvantages of Multizone Systems
Examine the advantages and disadvantages of multizone systems.

Click each tab to learn more.


The advantages of multizone systems include the following:

They provide good control over temperature.
Only ducts and diffusers, plus thermostats, are located outside the mechanical room.
They provide easy system control.


The disadvantages of multizone systems include the following:

They require many individual ducts, which limits the number of zones.

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They can have high energy consumption.
Temperature control of the hot deck is a concern.
Implementing an economizer cycle is difficult.

Slide 31: Variations
Two-fan arrangements for VAV control are not common with multizone systems due to higher first
costs, lack of packaged equipment with such variations, and the ability of the basic system to
provide reasonable humidity control. When VAV approaches are used, they are seldom applied to
an entire distribution system, except for television studios and other noise-critical applications.

Slide 32: Similarity to Dual-Duct
The multizone system is conceptually similar to the dual-duct system in many respects. Multizone
systems using a variety of packaged equipment can provide a small building with some of the
advantages of dual-duct systems at a lower first cost. Most packaged air handling units, however,
lack the sophisticated control for comfort and operating economy that can be built into dual-duct

Slide 33: Summary
That concludes the course HVAC Systems II: All-Air Systems and Temperature Control. Take a
moment to review what you have learned.

Temperature control may be achieved by constant volume with variable temperature, variable air
volume, reheat, face and bypass dampers, or a combination of methods.

Constant volume systems tend to have poor energy efficiency because of the continual fan

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Reheat functions by adding heat to cooled air to provide zone temperature control. This is
basically wasteful of energy and therefore considered to be the least efficient and most
uneconomical approach.

Variable air volume is more energy efficient, especially when variable speed is used to control

Systems may support a single zone or be divided into multiple zones. Single-duct and dual-duct
systems can support multiple zones through terminal units or VAV boxes.

An independent perimeter system may be used to take care of heat loads at the building

An economizer cycle can be used in a single-duct system to take advantage of relatively cool and
dry outside air for cooling the building.

Dual-duct systems tend to be inefficient because separate airflows are heated and cooled, and
then mixed at the point of entry to the space.

Multizone systems can also have high energy consumption because they produce both cold and
warm air at the air handling unit, and then mix the air and distribute it to multiple single-zone

And finally, compared to constant volume, reheat, dual duct, and multizone systems, variable air
volume is the most efficient approach.

Slide 34: Thank You!
Thank you for participating in this course.