What is a HVAC System?

Dabbel IA building Automation

The term HVAC is widely used in real estate as well as in the building automation industry. Most people have a general idea but lack a deeper understanding or use the terms HVAC and air conditioning interchangeably. So, what exactly does HVAC mean and what are the implications for commercial real estate?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and refers to the different systems used to move fresh air into the building as well as heating and cooling of a commercial or residential building. HVAC systems provide thermal control, indoor comfort as well as a high level of air quality.

The most visible part of a HVAC system are usually the big air conditioner boxes that you might see on large office buildings, apartment blocks or other types of large buildings. Heating and Cooling systems are usually hidden in the basement and are less visible.

The heating element refers to either a boiler or a furnace in most instances and also includes elements such a heat pumps and different piping systems which are carrying the heat. Ventilation can of course happen naturally through open windows, doors or vents. In the context of HVAC systems however, ventilation refers to mechanical ventilation and the use of mechanical systems to move air in and out. In so-called air handling units, dirt, dust, allergens and other particles are filtered out of the air. Air Conditioning as the last component of a HVAC system, is the exact opposite of Heating and refers to the removal of excess heat from a building.

HVAC systems determine air quality and indoor comfort. As these factors have great influence on worker performance in commercial buildings, investments in this area can have a large influence on productivity. HVAC systems also make up approximately 65% of a building’s energy consumption and therefore should be the first step when trying to increase a building’s energy efficiency.