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The Basics of Commercial HVAC Design: 10 Great Resources

Last Updated: July 9, 2019

Commercial HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) design is a discipline largely dictated by compliance and engineering. But, just because a commercial system meets all of the legal standards necessary doesn’t mean that it’s an efficient or cost-effective one.

To make the delicate design process a bit easier, we’ve rounded up the top 10 resources for achieving the best commercial HVAC design basics, including:

  1. Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)
  2. Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. (AMCA)
  3. Arista Air Blog
  4. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  5. Bright Hub Engineering Blog
  6. Carrier University
  7. Energy Codes Requirements Guide
  8. HVAC Training 101 Blog
  9. Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)
  10. Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

Read on to learn more about each of these valuable resources for commercial HVAC design. 

1. Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)

@accausa

Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)

Air Conditioning Contractors of America, better known as ACCA, is a national non-profit that boasts a registry of over 60,000 members working in the indoor environment and energy services industries. ACCA holds a great deal of influence in the sector; the organization is responsible for the creation of design and maintenance standards, education, and even a bulk of the industry’s political lobbying.

ACCA’s website serves as a valuable resource for those who are in the process of mastering the HVAC design fundamentals. In addition to its Blog which reports on new laws relating to the discipline, ACCA’s site also includes information about its online and in-person Light Commercial HVAC Design for Quality Installation certification courses. For even more guidance, technical manuals that list and cover important codes related to HVAC design are available for purchase on the ACCA website.

2. Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. (AMCA)

@AMCAIntl

Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. (AMCA)

Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. (AMCA) is a global organization that serves to connect professionals working in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Members benefit from AMCA’s vast array of education and certification programs which cover both fundamental and cutting-edge practices within the HVAC industry.

In terms of design direction, both members and non-members have free access to white papers and published studies including:

To access even more resources, visit AMCA’s ‘Educate’ tab.

3. Arista Air Conditioning Corp Blog

@AristaAir

Arista Air Blog

Much of the elite New York City metro area is served by Arista Air Conditioning Corp, a company that has provided HVAC design solutions to the region’s largest commercial entities over six decades and counting. The company’s blog is a rich resource for both HVAC professionals and system owners alike.

In the post HVAC System Design: 6 Strategies for Modern Office Spaces, we are given a checklist for designing and installing a comprehensive HVAC system in such an environment. Arista’s tips include:

  • Specialized space design considerations for improved energy efficiency
  • Light and occupancy sensor information
  • Air quality and ventilation considerations

4. American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

@ashraenews

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

In 1959, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) was formed in order to unify two of the largest and most active organizations in the country, ASHAE and ASRE. Since then, ASHRAE has made it its mission to provide professional development, technical resources, and conference hosting to the industry’s best and brightest HVAC professionals.

Members are granted exclusive access to ASHRAE’s Technology Portal, an online resource containing research reports, journals, and articles on a range of HVAC-related topics, including industrial HVAC design and installation.

5. Bright Hub Engineering Blog

@brighthub

Bright Hub Engineering Blog

Bright Hub Engineering is a popular blog that publishes news, how-tos, and opinion pieces on a mixture of topics such as civil, electrical, mechanical, and marine engineering. In its comprehensive piece Guide to HVAC Design, Theory of Operation, and Primary Components, we are provided with a host of practical basics including:

  • Heat removal methods
  • HVAC system components
  • HVAC system zones

For an even more in-depth look at the topic, dive into the references which are listed at the bottom of the article.

6. Carrier University

@CarrierAtHome

Carrier University

Leading HVAC manufacturer Carrier is the owner of Carrier University, a professional training organization that educates HVAC professionals through seminars and specialized curriculum tracks. Included in the Carrier University training catalog are 13 HVAC Design courses that cover everything from commercial prep to loaded calculation theory. For registration information on these courses, visit the Carrier University website.

7. Energy Codes Requirements Guide

@ENERGY

Energy Codes Requirements Guide

In this guide, written and devised by the U.S. Department of Energy Building Energy Codes program, we are provided with the essential ins and outs of commercial HVAC design codes and compliance. Before diving into standards, the presentation covers the very design basics most commonly used in the commercial HVAC sector.

The slideshow is meant to be a companion piece to an informative webinar narrated by Reid Hart, PE of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. You can access a free version of the “Introduction to Commercial Building HVAC Systems and Energy Code Requirements” webinar here.

8. HVAC Training 101 Blog

HVAC Training 101 Blog

HVAC Training 101 is a blog that caters to all working in the HVAC industry, from engineers to technicians, salespeople, and beyond. Those interested in education should visit the site’s ‘Certification’ tab. There, you will find all you need to know on the classes and special certificate programs that cover commercial HVAC design.

9. Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)

@RSESHQ

Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES)

RSES is one of the leading authorities for education, training, and certification prep for HVACR (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) professionals. In addition to boasting a library of educational materials, the organization also provides free HVAC industry news to both members and non-members.

Beginners searching for resources on commercial HVAC design fundamentals have access to plenty of guidance in RSES eLearning. There, you will find information on webinars, training courses, and white papers that cover the standards and best practices for understanding good commercial design elements.

10. Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

@SMACNA

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association

For over 75 years, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, better known as SMACNA, has been providing support, education, and industry news to contracting professionals. Although the organization’s bread and butter is in sheet metal, it still offers information on design fundamentals for commercial HVAC systems. A couple of the best resources include:

The most important elements of commercial HVAC design lie in compliance. Always be sure to check your design against ACCA’s standards before finalizing.

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