If you’re a developer of multifamily homes, you have a plethora of decisions to make. The type of HVAC unit to use in your property is one of the toughest and most important decisions you’ll make. A wrong choice could have catastrophic long-term consequences. But have no fear, this quick guide will tell you what you need to know about choosing an HVAC system for multifamily homes.
Multifamily HVAC Requirements
The HVAC needs of multifamily buildings differ from those of single-family homes. You should consider the factors below when choosing between systems:
- Individual controls — Occupants should have in-unit comfort controls.
- Easy to maintain — Regardless of the type of HVAC units you choose to install, they should be easy to maintain.
- Load flexibility — It’s not easy to establish the expected peak power demand in multifamily properties. Therefore, the HVAC system you install should be optimized to accommodate a range of peak energy loads.
Centralized or Decentralized System?
Multifamily HVAC systems are either centralized or decentralized.
A centralized system is typically a mechanical room where the air conditioning or heating takes place. It’s commonly located in the multifamily building’s penthouse or basement. The common centralized systems include:
- Geothermal systems
- Hot water baseboard
- Two-pipe system
- Four-pipe system
A decentralized system provides separate units for each housing unit or family. Common decentralized systems include:
- Wall-unit air conditioner
- Electric baseboard heat
- Packaged thermal air conditioner
- Self-contained system
When it comes to energy efficiency, centralized systems outdo decentralized systems. However, their installation costs are higher. For those reasons, they’re the preferred choice in developments with numerous units like high-rise and mid-rise properties. Because they’re cost-effective, decentralized units are usually installed in smaller multifamily properties.
Make sure you seal the ductwork and improve the building envelope’s insulation to enhance efficiency. Additionally, work with a trustworthy HVAC company to choose the proper size of unit for your property.
If you have any other questions about selecting an HVAC system for multifamily homes, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. For nearly 50 years, homeowners in the Indianapolis area have counted on us for all their heating and cooling needs.