Despite reaching up to 20% of a building’s total construction cost, the true big cost of an HVAC system comes during the building operation. When you are the one picking up the utility tab, it is crucial to select the right mechanical system that helps you meet your design objectives while achieving the lowest operational costs.
From the system design side, different criteria are evaluated such as occupant comfort, maintainability, reliability, flexibility, impact on structural electrical and architecture, along with capital cost. From the system operations side, evaluated criteria include energy consumption, electric demand, maintenance cost, and equipment service-life.
This evaluation and comparison of the various systems is not purely qualitative, but also quantitative as energy modeling is used to predict the operational performance criteria.
Whether it’s one best system for the project, or a combination of systems each best-suited for a part of the project, the HVAC assessment should be the starting point of any design process.