HVAC Design and Analysis

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Course Overview

Topics for this course will include and expand on subjects just touched on in the Fundamentals of HVAC course. It is recommended that the two courses be taken in sequence, unless the student has previous HVAC design or facilities operations experience. Subjects covered in this new course include ASHRAE standards, cooling loads, duct and pipe sizing, fan laws, CFD modeling, smoke control, CAD and BIM, and applications (see outline for more details).

Learning objectives:

  • Sizing and layout of piping and ductwork
  • Specification of materials and equipment
  • Calculate and evaluate cooling loads
  • Understand and apply CFD studies
  • Compare and contrast HVAC applications

Who Should Attend?

  • Designers looking to learn to perform engineering calculations and system layout
  • Mechanical or electrical engineers transitioning into HVAC from other disciplines
  • Design-build contractors involved in the sizing and selection of HVAC equipment
  • Facilities managers looking for more details than found in an introductory course

Course Outline

Welcome and Student Introductions

Review of HVAC Fundamentals

  • Abbreviations, units, and references
  • The need for environmental controls
  • Properties of moist air
  • Sensible and latent heat
  • Air handling units and distribution
  • Hot water and steam heating
  • Vapor compression refrigeration
  • Chilled water system components

Duct and Pipe Design

  • Ductwork
    • Materials specification 
      • Ductwork
      • Ductwork specialities 
    • Layout and distribution 
      • Sizing methods 
      • Aspect ratio and fittings 
    • Static pressure calculations 
  • Air Distribution
    • Air diffusion patterns 
    • Air terminal selection

Pumps and Pipe Design

  • Piping
    • Materials specification 
      • Pipe and fittings
      • Valves and pipe specialities
    • Layout and distribution 
      • Pipe sizing 
      • Parallel flows
      • Reverse return
      • Primary/Secondary layouts
    • Head pressure calculations 
      • Work session - sample problem 
  • Hydronic Pumps
    • Pump performance
      • Pump curves
      • Parallel operation
    • Pump selection 
    • Pump types
  • Coils
    • Coil performance
    • Coil types
    • Coil options
    • Coil sizing
    • Hydronic coil selection

Heating and Cooling Loads

  • Introduction, Goals, and Objectives
  • Heat transfer and energy
  • Weather data and solar gain
  • Internal heat components
  • Infiltration and ventilation 
  • CLTD / SCL / CLF method

Load Calculations

  • Work session — Sample problem 
    • AHSRAE tables
    • Spreadsheet data
  • Energy Code Compliance
    • Local codes
    • ComCheck
  • Hourly Simulations 
    • Trane Trace

Computational Fluid Dynamics

  • What is CFD? 
  • How do you do CFD?
  • Turbulence
  • Ventilation and CFD
    • Examples - Healthcare
    • Examples - Laboratories 
  • Outdoor CFD
  • Wind tunnel testing vs. CFD

Introduction to Building Energy Modeling

  • Overview
  • Design modeling
  • Certification modeling
  • Compliance modeling
  • Retrofit modeling 

HVAC Equipment Selection

  • Motors, Drives, and Motor Controls 
    • Motors 
      • Types and options
      • Motor selection
    • Drives
    • Motor Controls 
      • Disconnect switches 
      • Starters 
      • Variable Frequency Drives 
  • Fans
    • Fan performance 
      • Fan curves
      • Brake horsepower
      • Fan laws
      • Fan selection 
      • Parallel fan operation
    • Selection procedure
    • Fan types
      • Mounting
      • Spark classification
      • Fan wheels
      • Fan options
  • Packaged Equipment Selection 
    • Packaged equipment sizes / capacity ranges 
    • Using packaged equipment catalogs and selection software 
    • DX coil / condensing unit selection 
  • Other Terminal Equipment
    • Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems
    • Radiant Heating and Cooling
    • Air Terminals
    • Chilled Beams 

Optimizing HVAC BAS Controls

  • The BAS's role in commercial building energy use and energy efficiency
  • Why are these systems poorly commissioned and operated? 
  • Optimizing common HVAC energy saving control sequences
  • Strategies to insure persistence of benefits long after implementation

Design Documentation Tools & Processes 

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Coordination 
  • Visualization 
  • Laser Scanning
  • Facilities Management
  • Generative Design


"Filled in all the gaps, great review for someone 18 years out of school. Duct and pipe calculation tools from Gene are great."
—Shana, Project Engineer, AMS Mechanical Systems, Inc., Naperville IL 

"Subjects I wanted to be covered were covered. Got more than I expected. BIM was very informative. I feel I learned a lot and will better the work I do in the future."
—Corey, WT Group, East Dundee IL 

"I wanted to build my knowledge base now. All of this is useful for my job."
—Erik, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos NM

"Great overview for someone not in the design field. Will be helpful for understanding what the other departments do that I deal with on a daily basis."
—Paul, Planner/Inspector/Analyst I, Michigan State University, East Lansing MI

"The content was excellent and I have a new respect for the design industry and the data that the customer receives, and does not receive, and why."
—Charles, Controls Shop Work Leader, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago IL 


John Davis

John G. Davis, PE is the owner of The 2nd Law, an engineering consulting firm located in the stunningly beautiful Driftless Area of southwestern Wisconsin. His firm provides design and forensic engineering services related to moisture management and humidity control. 

John retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. At the UW, John taught coursework in the areas of HVAC, refrigeration, building science and building commissioning. John holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University and graduate engineering degrees from Purdue University and Northwestern University. 

John is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Wisconsin and a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). In his spare time, John enjoys, hiking, kayaking, trout fishing, motorcycling, and misbehaving with his parter-in-crime, his dog, Maeve. 

Lee DeBaillie

Lee DeBaillie, PE, is a Program Director with UW-Madison College of Engineering. He has over 25 years of experience with energy efficiency in buildings. Lee is an ASHRAE Building Energy Modeling Professional and was a committee member in the recent creation of ASHRAE Standard 209-2018, a methodology for applying energy modeling to the building design process.


Kyle Hansen

Kyle Hansen leads the BIM (Building Information Management) group in Affiliated Engineers, Inc.'s (AEI) Madison headquarters. Since joining the firm in 2004, Kyle has been instrumental in expanding the technical capabilities of the BIM software suite and related design technologies. He has been the BIM Lead for many of AEI's most prominent large-scale, technically complex projects involving coordination of extended multi-firm project delivery teams, primarily in the national healthcare and research markets. Kyle's firsts for AEI include: first use of Revit Server model sharing and the implementation of owner/contractor asset tracking for the UWHealth's The American Center facility, first use of the subsequent BIM 360 simultaneous design platform, and first use of virtual reality for the Caltech Tianqiao & Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience. He is a member of the National BIM Standards Committee. 

Mark Malkin

Mark P. Malkin, PE is a Program Director in the UW–Madison Department of Engineering Professional Development (EPD). He is a registered Professional Engineer with over 25 years of combined experience in university construction project management and HVAC systems design. His course offerings in the Facilities segment of EPD include HVAC and plumbing fundamentals, building and property maintenance code review, 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 master's in Mechanical Engineering from UW–Madison.

Gene Nelson

Gene Nelson, PE, has 44 years of HVAC design experience with a mechanical contractor and two engineering firms. He has completed over 40 major projects (over 8 million square feet) located in cities coast to coast in the United States and in the Middle East. Projects included commercial, industrial, healthcare, pharmaceutical, and research and development (R&D) facilities. Gene is a Life Member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and was President of the Madison ASHRAE Chapter from 2007 to 2008. He has been awarded ASHRAE’s “Energy and Technology Award” two times at the regional and society levels (1981 and 1994). Gene received his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1974, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Wisconsin.

Duncan Phillips

Duncan Phillips (Ph.D., P.Eng) is a Senior Consultant at RWDI and firm-wide Practice Area Leader for the technical teams using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to solve building design problems.  His post-graduate work involved experimental methods to assess how building HVAC systems interact with people.  As such, he approaches any numerical modeling with a healthy level of suspicion but an understanding of how powerful CFD can be.  He has over 20 years of experience applying CFD to building air flow problems.  He will present the segment on CFD modeling and stack effect in tall buildings.  The CFD segment will cover the background of what CFD is so that participants understand the capabilities and limitations.  This background will be a pragmatic discussion of how CFD works, not a discussion of the equations.

Upcoming dates (1)

May 17-19, 2022

Madison, WI
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Program Director

Mark Malkin

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