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Course: Airtighness of HVAC Energy Use in Commercial Building

# Course: ME0095

Fee: $55.00

Credit: 2PDH


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This course reviews a U.S. Department of Energy sponsored study comparing energy cost savings vs. first cost investments for improved commercial building envelope airtightness and the resulting impact on building HVAC systems.

Designing energy efficient and sustainable buildings can be a major challenge for architects and engineers, since increased energy efficiency and sustainability systems and materials often have associated premium costs. One role of the consulting engineer is to quantify both the energy savings and first cost for these systems and advise the owner on a course of action. As such, a quantitative method of analyzing the energy savings for any such method must be available.

An often overlooked, but never-the-less important component to both sizing HVAC systems and their performance is the building’s infiltration or air leakage rate. Studies have shown that many commercial buildings have higher than desirable infiltration which can lead to higher HVAC-related energy rates. Consequently, these studies also support the need for increased building airtightness specifications. However, depending on climate conditions, the HVAC equipment installed and the type of building, increasing the airtightness of the building can be detrimental to the overall operating cost. There are times when the building infiltration provides a “free cooling” effect where cool outdoor air entering the building offsets the internal heat gain created in the spaces. Cooling energy costs are increased when the building is more airtight and the “free cooling” is eliminated.

This course will provide not only an understanding of building construction materials, common internal heat gains, operation of HVAC equipment, climate data and their impact on energy consumption, but also the effect of increased building airtightness on energy use. Furthermore, it will outline a detailed overview of the analysis tools used to obtain these results.

Course Objectives:

  • Effects of infiltration on building HVAC performance
  • Energy modeling
  • Different building type and construction
  • Basic HVAC system operation and control
  • Energy consumption in buildings
  • Increased airtightness and energy usage

Download Course Material:

ME0095 - Airtighness of HVAC Energy Use in Commercial Building.pdf

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