The Need for a Comprehensive Heating and Air Conditioning Load Analysis
There was a time when the only people who would probably have an interest in the heating and air conditioning loads of a building were the engineers designing those systems. Furthermore, it was unlikely that their interest would go beyond having just the peak loads, because that was sufficient to enable them to size the equipment for the buildings. In the world of today, where the efficient use of energy in buildings is a major design and operational objective, the engineer needs to know more than just the peak loads in order to optimize his or her design. Hourly air conditioning loads are required for example, in the design of thermal storage A/C systems where the capacity of the storage in ton-hours (or kilowatt-hours) has to be determined. As another example, hourly loads are also required in order to estimate the energy consumption of an air conditioning system over a specific time period.
Today we are also seeing other professional groups such as architects, energy auditors and building managers taking an increasing interest in the air conditioning and heating loads of buildings. The architect may need to keep abreast of the load contributions made by various building elements such as the roof, windows or walls as the design of the building progresses. That way, adjustments to enhance the energy efficiency of the building can be made in a timely manner. The energy auditor, assessing the energy use in an existing building, will also need to obtain a detailed breakdown of the air conditioning loads on an hourly and monthly basis. With this information, the energy consumption, based on the part load characteristics of the equipment, can be determined.
An ordinary HVAC software, which can only calculate the peak load of a building or zone, cannot satisfy the requirements exemplified above. What is really needed is an application that can deliver a much more detailed analysis of the loads, not only on an hourly and monthly basis, but also on the bases of the sources of the loads and how they enter the space. What is needed is an analytical tool such as the ComfortAir software.
What is ComfortAir?
ComfortAir has been developed as a heating and air conditioning load analysis application, with the needs of the engineer, architect, energy auditor, building manager and contractor in mind. Whether the need is to obtain a summary report for the peak conditions, or to obtain detailed hourly information in graphical or tabular forms, ComfortAir will have the required information readily available. There is a rich array of useful reports and graphs which can be viewed. This includes cooling reports, cooling graphs, heating report, glass shading reports and glass shading graphs.
But the ability to provide detailed cooling and heating load information is not the only noteworthy attribute of ComfortAir. The application is also extremely easy to use and it is very flexible. The user friendliness is enhanced by the provision of two wizards and three dialogs which greatly simplify the normally complex and lenghty tasks of data entry. Another wizard, which is always accessible when you need it, is also available to offer you valuable assistance in carrying out the routine task of calculating U-values.
The flexibility of the application is demonstrated in its ability to allow the user to work either in English or Metric units. In fact, both input and output units can be selected independently, and it is easy to switch units at any time while working on a project. In addition, because ComfortAir was developed as a multiple document interface (MDI) application, several projects can be opened and worked on simultaneously.
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