Energy aspects of HVAC system configurations — problem definition and test cases

This paper reports on the energy implications of HVAC system configuration by analyzing the energy balance and psychrometrics of typical and innovative systems. Three criteria were shown to be significant: (1) the ability to minimize outside air load, (2) the ability to eliminate simultaneous cooling and heating and use mixing effectively, and (3) the availability of interzonal airflow. Configurations that meet these criteria would be able to deliver the desired indoor air quality with reduced energy consumption. The performance of ten two-zone system configurations, including single-duct, dual-duct, fan-coil-based variations, and other specialized systems in the literature, were analyzed for a number of operational conditions. The results confirmed that fan-coil-based configurations with interzonal airflow paths perform better than other configurations. The conclusion of this study may be used as a guideline for multi-zone system designs.