architect-hvacRemember the days of bulky air conditioning units that are drilled through brick and stuck on the outside of residential buildings? With today’s technology, architects should see units as a necessary design challenge for every project. 

Warner Service of Frederick, Maryland, breaks down why architects should care about this integral piece of construction:

It’s a necessary part of construction. All rooms must receive proper heating, air conditioning, and ventilation to comply with basic federal, state, and local building codes. Without it, building occupants and homeowners aren’t comfortable during the shift in seasons.

Low quality HVAC also leads to poor indoor air quality, an influx of allergens and pathogens, and sickness. With those consequences, building owners see a rise in sick days, a lower employee retention rate, and decreased occupant morale and work productivity.

All occupants, residential and commercial, have to find a temporary solution in the form of space heaters or dehumidifiers that eat up money on a monthly electric bill. The worst part is that the alternative solution switches about every three months with the weather. To avoid all of this, architects should care about heating, cooling, and ventilation from the start.

It’s another design opportunity. Too often, architects view heating and cooling units as a necessary evil. Many believe that prioritizing functionality takes away precious design time and space, as well as creativity. However, it’s possible to seamlessly blend everything -- if they plan ahead.

Begin with the basics. Understand how residential and commercial HVAC works, which solution is best for a specific home or commercial building, which manufacturer is the most reliable, and the average weather cycle of the home’s or building’s location.

Armed with this knowledge, architects can narrow down a few heating and cooling options for a home or building. At this stage, architects are able to integrate their creativity, whether it’s concealing bulky appliances or hiding units within other design elements.

Now, they can blend functionality and creativity within the same timeframe and space. It’s all one big design opportunity, according to this article by Architecture Lab, an online architecture magazine.

Going green saves you green. “Going green” is a top priority for many commercial building owners and homeowners. Instead of waiting until the building is finished to incorporate environmentally friendly tricks, architects often assimilate eco-friendliness right into design, especially with heating and cooling components.

This is important because this initiative saves everyone money. According to an Architect Magazine newsletter, architects can take advantage of available tax incentives, rebates, grants, and loans when designing a space. This makes it easier to demonstrate the money-saving potential and long-term environmental benefits to commercial building owners and homeowners.

With more than 1,450 programs from federal, state, and local governments, eco-friendliness has more than one advantage. By knowing the details of each program, architects can optimize projects for energy efficiency.

Many architects are understanding the importance of heating and cooling in all buildings. For a commercial HVAC example, The Union Dallas, a brand-new, 800,000-square-foot building in a Texas neighborhood, was equipped with an innovative, high-efficiency HVAC system in 2016, according to The Daily Telescope.

As a residential example, H-VAC, a tiny home in England, played “on the fact that planning rules allow mechanical equipment to be installed without permission,” according to a 2017 article by Curbed. It’s an experimental statement that brings into question the priority of planning and design.

With so much inspiration and technology, including the popular VRF zoning system, architects should be able to integrate HVAC systems into commercial buildings and homes without issue. For more information, click on the button below to download Warner Service’s guide:

Download The Architects Guide To Commercial HVAC