University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Course Overview

Properly designed and operated HVAC systems are critical to support comfortable and healthy building indoor environments. This practical course will develop your knowledge of the principles of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems found in commercial building applications. Attend and learn more about HVAC technologies to help you better understand how and where they are applied.

Who Should Attend?

  • Facility managers
  • Facility engineers
  • Architects
  • Project managers with HVAC responsibilities
  • Anyone needing an overview of HVAC systems

Course Outline

Introduction to HVAC

  • The need for HVAC
  • References, standards and codes
  • Terms, definitions and units
  • HVAC system type overview
  • Ventilation and air quality
  • Buildings and energy efficiency


  • Properties of moist air
  • Psychrometric chart
  • Sensible and latent
  • Combined processes
  • Mixing of air streams
  • Design conditions

Refrigeration in HVAC

  • Phase change and refrigerants
  • Vapor compression cycle
  • Chilled water vs. D/X cooling
  • Decarbonization and heat pumps

Hydronic Systems

  • Definition of "hydronics"
    • Comparison to air systems
  • Types of hydronic systems
    • Heating Hot Water
    • Chilled Water
    • Condenser Water: Tower and Geo-exchange
    • Glycol Water
  • Types of central equipment
    • Boilers
    • Chillers
    • Cooling Towers / Fluid Coolers
    • Pumps
    • Heat Exchangers
  • Types of terminal equipment
    • Coils
    • Unit Heaters
    • Fan Coil Units
    • Chilled Beams
    • Radiant
  • System Comparison – Advantages / Disadvantages

All Air Systems

  • Definition of "all air systems"
  • Types of all supply and return air systems
    • Recirculating / Mixed Air Systems
    • Dedicated Outside Air (DOAS) Systems
    • Overhead / Dilution Type: Constant Volume (CAV) and Variable Volume (VAV)
    • Displacement / UFAD Type
  • Types of exhaust systems
    • General – Toilet, etc.
    • Laboratory, process, or other specialty systems
  • Types of central equipment
    • Packaged / Unitary systems
    • Split systems
    • Air handling units
    • Fans
  • Types of terminal equipment
    • Air Terminal Units / VAV Boxes
    • Grilles, Registers, & Diffusers
  • System Comparison – Advantages / Disadvantages
  • Hybrid approaches
    • Applications / Examples 

Steam and Steam Condensate

  • Definition of "steam"
    • Comparison to air and hydronic systems
    • ASME Codes / Safety
  • Types of steam and condensate systems
    • Low Pressure
    • High Pressure
    • Condensate Collection: Gravity return, Pumped return, Vacuum
  • Types of central equipment
    • Boilers
    • Heat Exchangers
    • Make-up water systems
  • Types of terminal equipment
    • Coils
    • Humidifiers
    • Unit Heaters
    • Fan Coil Units
    • Radiant
  • System Comparison - Advantages / Disadvantages
  • Applications / Examples

Field Tour - Wisconsin Energy Institute

Controls: Building Automation Systems

  • Definition / Purpose of "Building Automation System (BAS)"
  • Types of HVAC control systems
    • Local
    • Centralized (Building-wide)
    • Pneumatic
    • Direct Digital Control
    • Pneumatic-Hybrid
    • Programmable Logic Control (PLC)
  • Type of control equipment
    • Valves
    • Dampers
    • Actuators
    • Sensors and thermostats
  • Types of Controls
    • Proportional/Modulating Control Concepts
    • Open/Closed Loop Control/li>
  • Wisconsin Energy Institute 
    • Sequence of Operations
    • Mechanical Flow Diagrams


 “Having no HVAC background I liked the clear presentation of material. I liked the: graphics showing the various HVAC systems; the interaction with conference attendees; the binder; the course outline we received prior to class; and the ability to ask questions.”  

- Laura, University of Iowa, Iowa City IA

“I really liked the real world knowledge of the class. Very good amount of info to get the basics of HVAC w/o getting too far into the engineering world or details. The field trip to see what we were learning was key, please don’t take that out.”  

- Brandon, Facilities – Engineering, Epic Systems Corporation, Verona WI

“Very informative. Broke down complicated info into simple enough chunks for even newbies to understand. Touring the Wisconsin Energy Institute was awesome!”  

- Endeavor, Facilities Technician II, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, Madison WI

"With my non-engineering background I am now better prepared to converse in a project management role with HVAC designers and contractors as an owner's rep."
—Rick, Construction Manager, Iowa State University, Ames IA

"I am a PM for a GC, so I was looking for just a basic knowledge of what our HVAC subcontractors do and are quoting. This course gave me that and more."
—Kyle, ACE Building Service, Manitowoc WI

"Great fundamental course … I plan on adding this course to the roster of UW classes that I encourage my employees to take.”
— Greg, President and CEO, LM Consultants Inc., Grayslake IL

"I now have a much better understanding of everything involved in HVAC...Really like the course - will definitely recommend."
—Eric, UW–Madison Physical Plant, Madison WI 

"It renewed my love of actual engineering and was reminiscent of being in class at school. Thank you."
—Alexa, Mechanical Inc., Freeport IL

"This class took the four years of information I learned while getting my BSME and applied it directly to the HVAC industry and the systems I work on now...I really wish I could've taken this class in school."
—David, Project Manager, Mechanical, Inc., Westmont IL

"Extremely informative course; took difficult systems and explained them in an elementary way to ensure all students understood concepts & processes … I got what I came here for and am definitely interested in taking additional courses in the future.”
—Eric, Senior Project Manager, The Walsh Group, McFarland WI

"I was looking for general knowledge of different types of HVAC systems and when they are used. This is exactly what I got."
—Logan, Vyron Corp., Milwaukee WI

"I believe this course does an excellent job of covering the fundamentals of HVAC systems no matter what your background or level of training/education is...This course will help me convey the pros and cons of various mechanical equipment to the owners that I deal with on a daily basis...Very informative, and enjoyable class. Thank you!"
—Jacob, J.H. Findorff and Son, Inc., Madison WI 

"Great overview of HVAC and support systems. I learned a ton."
—Ashley, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton WA

"Really enjoyed all of the graphics and images in the slideshows. Makes it easier to learn and help with identification of systems/equipment in the future."
—Alyssa, GDS Associates, Inc., Manchester NH

"I feel that I will now be able to more confidently discuss equipment and the "why” with field personnel, engineers, and my colleagues … I learned a lot and will recommend it to coworkers.”
—Tori, Assistant Project Manager, Grunau Company, Oak Creek WI

"Very informative and loved being able to ask questions and get real, experience-backed answers."
—Lauren, FE Moran, Northbrook IL

"Gained confidence in HVAC system knowledge...Liked broad view of information...I will be able to interact with subs better and provide better planning ideas for my client."
—Frank, Project Manager, Vogel Bros. Building Co., Madison WI

"Subject content was great, tours were really good particularly WEI. Interaction with class members was awesome."
—Bob, SSM Health, Fond du Lac WI


Joel Boado

Joel joined Affiliated Engineers, a MEP engineering consultant with 16 offices, in 2004 as a mechanical engineer. His early tenure primarily focused on the design of data centers for multiple client types; however, for the past several years, he has been focused on large-scale healthcare buildings as project manager and lead mechanical engineer. He managed the new, 496,000 sf UW Health at The American Center (Madison WI) and provided mechanical engineering services for the 1.2 million sf Center for Care & Discovery at The University of Chicago Medicine. He currently is managing the 1.5 million sf North Campus Expansion on the Houston Methodist Hospital campus. Joel is a registered engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Brett Friedman

Brett is a registered professional mechanical engineer at Affiliated Engineers, Inc., a MEP engineering consultant with 16 offices where he focuses on complex HVAC systems analysis and design for industrial, manufacturing, and test system clients. Design experience includes facilities containing test stands for diverse engine types, chassis types (passenger, trucking, agriculture, etc.), and fuel types (diesel, natural gas, gasoline, dimethyl ether, methanol, etc.). He is adept at facility utility and infrastructure design (process water, chilled water, steam, natural gas, etc.) with attentiveness given to excellent test data collection. Clients include Caterpillar, Cummins, Deere & Company, and PACCAR.

Deanne Walz

Deanne is a Project Manager at Affiliated Engineers, a MEP engineering consultant with 16 offices. Originally a member of the firm’s Washington DC office, Deanne provided mechanical engineering design services for several projects at the National Institutes of Health campus. After relocating to Madison, Deanne’s recent project work has been focused on the healthcare industry. She is currently leading the new, 332,000 sf hospital at Bay Area Medical Center (Marinette WI) and recently completed MEP/utility infrastructure planning on the Froedtert Hospital (Milwaukee WI) campus and led the mechanical design of the 452,000 sf expansion of the Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children (Wilmington DE). Deanne is a registered engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark, PE is a registered mechanical engineer at Affiliated Engineers in Madison, WI. He began his career over 20 years ago designing plumbing systems, and now focuses on HVAC design of health care and laboratory buildings. Brian’s experience is very broad and includes fully decarbonized laboratories, indoor waterpark resorts, clean rooms, a glass globe, and everything in between. With a passion for high performance buildings, his designs often incorporate the latest energy saving strategies and technologies. Brian received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Doug Showers

Doug Showers, PE, is a Project Engineer at Affiliated Engineers, Inc. in Madison, WI, focusing on the instrumentation and controls design for complex industrial, energy and utilities, and research building projects.  Doug has experience managing control systems on a large University campus, including multiple heating and cooling plants, and is currently leading the control system design for several large research lab facilities.  Doug is a registered engineer and holds a Power Plant Operating Engineer license from ASOPE.

Mark Malkin

Mark P. Malkin, PE, is a program director in the Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs in the College of Engineering at UW-Madison. He is a registered Professional Engineer with over 25 years of experience in university facilities project management and HVAC systems design. His course offerings include HVAC, plumbing and fire protection fundamentals, building code reviews, and design and operation of science labs, data centers, museums and libraries. Mark received his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and his MS in Mechanical Engineering from UW–Madison.

Jacob Weber

Jacob is a registered professional mechanical engineer at Affiliated Engineers, Inc where he focuses on HVAC and utility system analysis and design for industrial test, manufacturing, and university clients. His design experience includes hydraulic shaker test cells, aircraft hydraulic test systems, engine and chassis test cells, wind tunnels, and climatic chambers. In addition, he is well versed in utility and infrastructure designs such as steam, heating hot water, chilled water, process water, and tower water systems. Jacob’s current prominent clients include General Motors, Collins Aerospace, and University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Past dates