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Space and Zone Airflow Sizing Calculations Page 1 of 8

Space and Zone Airflow Sizing Calculations


This help topic documents procedures used to calculate required space and zone airflow rates. Depending on
user specifications and the type of system involved any one of sixteen different sizing procedures could be
used to determine space and zone airflow rates. The large number of possible procedures is due to:
a. The choice of four different sizing methods offered by the program.
b. The ability to specify system sizing criteria in terms of supply air temperature, supply airflow (CFM or L/s)
and supply airflow per unit floor area (CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm).
c. Use of different load data when sizing cooling-only, cooling-and-heating, and heating-only HVAC systems.
Airflow sizing documentation will be provided in separate sections below. The first section will describe
procedures for cooling-and-heating systems, the second with cooling-only systems and the third with heating-
only systems. Within each section sizing calculations for the four sizing methods will be discussed. Within
each discussion, variations due to use of CFM (L/s), CFM/sqft (L/s/sqm) and supply air temperature sizing
criteria will be noted. A final section explains special sizing cases.
A. COOLING-AND-HEATING SYSTEMS
Space and zone airflow calculations for cooling-and-heating HVAC systems are explained below for each of
the four sizing methods offered by the program. Within each discussion an explanation of the method, a
simple example and the fundamental equations will be provided. Definitions of variables in these equations
are provided at the end of this help topic.
1. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load
Space Sizing Method: Coincident Space Loads
Explanation: With this method, the zone airflow is calculated from either the maximum zone sensible
cooling load or the maximum zone heating load, whichever yields the larger airflow. The zone airflow is
then divided among spaces in the zone on the basis of space sensible loads which coincide with the time
the peak zone cooling or heating load occurs.
Example: A zone has a maximum sensible cooling load of 21600 BTU/h, the cooling setpoint is 75 F and
the supply air temperature is 55 F. Assuming sea level conditions, the required airflow rate for peak cooling
is 1000 CFM. The zone also has a maximum heating load of 38000 BTU/h, the heating setpoint is 70 F and
the supply air temperature is 110 F. The required airflow for heating is therefore 880 CFM. Because the
cooling condition yields the larger airflow rate, it is used as the design condition. This maximum zone
cooling load occurs at August 1600. Further, this zone contains two spaces. At August 1600, the spaces
have sensible cooling loads of 8000 BTU/h and 13600 BTU/h respectively.
The required airflow for the first space will be:
(1000 CFM) x (8000 BTU/h)/(21600 BTU/h) = 370 CFM.
The required airflow for the second space will be:
(1000 CFM) x (13600 BTU/h)/(21600 BTU/h) = 630 CFM.
It is important to note that space loads at August 1600 are used in this example calculation even if larger
space loads exist at other times.
If the design heating load had yielded a larger zone airflow, then the space airflows would have been
calculated based on ratios using space heating loads instead of space cooling loads.
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Sizing Criteria is Supply Temperature:
Zone supply airflow is computed as the larger value for peak cooling and heating loads:
Vz = Qzc/[UaCpaK(Tzc-Tsc)]
Vz = Qzh/[UaCpaK(Tzh-Tsh)]
Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM or L/s:
The specified supply CFM or L/s is the airflow for the outlet of the air handling unit. Leakage is
subtracted first to determine the airflow available at zone terminals. This airflow is divided among the
zones based on maximum zone sensible cooling load ratios.
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vz = (Qzc/Qzc,tot)Vsys,adj

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Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm:


The airflow available at the outlet of the air handler is computed first. Duct leakage is then subtracted to
determine the airflow available at zone terminals. Finally, this airflow is divided among zones based on
the ratio of floor areas.
Vsys = (CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm) Asys
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vz = Vsys,adj(Az / Asys)
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = (Qcsc/Qzc)Vz if peak cooling load dictates airflow.
Vs = (Qcsh/Qzh)Vz if peak heating load dictates airflow.

2. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load


Space Sizing Method: Individual Peak Space Loads
Explanation: With this method, the required zone airflow rate is determined in the same manner as #1
above. Required airflow rates for spaces in the zone are calculated from the maximum sensible cooling
load for each individual space or the maximum heating load for the space, whichever yields the larger
airflow.
Note that if peak loads for all the spaces in the zone occur at the time the peak zone load occurs, the sum
of the space airflow rates will equal the zone airflow rate. If the spaces experience peak loads at different
times, the sum of the space airflow rates will exceed the required zone airflow rate. In such a situation, the
ductwork between the zone terminal and the space diffusers will have excess airflow capacity. The
example below illustrates such a situation.
Example: A zone has a maximum sensible load occurring at August 1600 which requires an airflow of
1000 CFM. The zone contains two spaces. One space has a peak sensible load at August 1300 that
requires an airflow of 550 CFM. The second space has a peak sensible load at August 1700 that requires
an airflow of 600 CFM.
Zone Airflow Calculation: (Same as Method #1)
Space Airflow Calculation:
For all sizing criteria cases, two space airflow rates are computed based on the peak space sensible
cooling load and the peak space heating load respectively. The airflow derived from the cooling load
uses the cooling setpoint and the cooling supply temperature. The airflow derived from the heating load
uses the heating setpoint and the heating supply temperature. If a supply temperature was not specified
by the user, the program computes it using the maximum zone sensible cooling load and the required
zone airflow rate.
Vsc = Qmsc/UaCpaK(Tzc-Tsc)
Vsh = Qsh/UaCpaK(Tzh-Tsh)
The larger value of Vsc and Vsh is then used as the supply airflow rate for the space.

3. Zone Sizing Method: Sum of Space Airflow Rates


Space Sizing Method: Individual Peak Space Loads
Explanation: Design airflow rates for each space in a zone are calculated from the maximum sensible
cooling load or the maximum heating load for the space, whichever yields the larger airflow. The required
zone airflow rate is the sum of space airflows for all spaces in the zone.
Example: A zone contains two spaces. Both have airflows dictated by peak cooling loads. One has a peak
sensible load at August 1300 that requires an airflow of 550 CFM. The second space has a peak sensible
load at August 1700 that requires an airflow of 600 CFM. Therefore, the required zone airflow rate is:
(550 CFM) + (600 CFM) = 1150 CFM
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Vz = Sum of Vs, all spaces in zone.
Space Airflow Calculation:
Sizing Criteria is Supply Temperature:

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Space supply airflow is computed for the peak sensible cooling load and the peak heating load. The
larger of the two airflows is used for the space:
Vs = Qmsc/[UaCpaK(Tzc-Tsc)]
Vs = Qsh/[UaCpaK(Tzh-Tsh)]
Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM or L/s:
The specified supply CFM or L/s is the airflow for the outlet of the air handling unit. Leakage is
subtracted first to determine the airflow available at zone terminals. This airflow is divided among the
spaces based on maximum space sensible cooling load ratios.
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vs = (Qmsc/ Qmsc,tot) Vsys,adj
Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm:
The airflow available at the outlet of the air handler is computed first. Duct leakage is then subtracted to
determine the airflow available at zone terminals. Finally, this airflow is divided among spaces based on
the ratio of maximum space sensible cooling loads.
Vsys = (CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm) Asys
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vs = (Qmsc/Qmsc,tot)Vsys,adj

4. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load


Space Sizing Method: Zone CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm
Explanation: With this method, the zone airflow is calculated as described in #1 above. The zone airflow is
divided among spaces in the zone on the basis of zone CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm and space floor area.
Example: A zone has a required airflow rate of 1000 CFM. The zone contains two spaces of 600 sqft and
900 sqft floor area, respectively. Therefore, the overall zone CFM/sqft is 0.67 CFM/sqft.
The required airflow for the first space will be:
(600 sqft) x (0.67 CFM/sqft) = 400 CFM.
The required airflow for the second space will be:
(900 sqft) x (0.67 CFM/sqft) = 600 CFM.
Zone Airflow Calculation: (Same as Method #1)
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = (Vz/Az) As

B. COOLING-ONLY SYSTEMS
Space and zone airflow calculations for cooling-only are explained below for each of the four sizing methods
offered by the program. Within each discussion an explanation of the method, a simple example and the
fundamental equations will be provided. Definitions of variables in these equations are provided at the end of
this help topic.
1. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load
Space Sizing Method: Coincident Space Loads
Explanation: With this method, the zone airflow is calculated from the maximum zone sensible cooling
load. The zone airflow is then divided among spaces in the zone on the basis of space sensible cooling
loads which occur for the month and hour when the zone load peaks.
Example: A zone has a maximum sensible load of 21600 BTU/h and a required airflow rate of 1000 CFM.
This maximum zone load occurs at August 1600. Further, this zone contains two spaces. At August 1600,
the spaces have sensible cooling loads of 8000 BTU/h and 13600 BTU/h respectively.
The required airflow for the first space will be:
(1000 CFM) x (8000 BTU/h)/(21600 BTU/h) = 370 CFM.
The required airflow for the second space will be:
(1000 CFM) x (13600 BTU/h)/(21600 BTU/h) = 630 CFM.

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It is important to note that space loads at August 1600 are used in this example calculation even if larger
space loads exist at other times.
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Sizing Criteria is Supply Temperature:
Zone supply airflow is computed using the supply temperature and the maximum zone sensible cooling
load.
Vz = Qzc/[UaCpaK(Tzc-Tsc)]
Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM or L/s:
The specified supply CFM or L/s is the airflow for the outlet of the air handling unit. Leakage is
subtracted first to determine the airflow available at zone terminals. This airflow is divided among the
zones based on maximum zone sensible cooling load ratios.
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vz = (Qzc/Qzc,tot)Vsys,adj
Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm:
The airflow available at the outlet of the air handler is computed first. Duct leakage is then subtracted to
determine the airflow available at zone terminals. Finally, this airflow is divided among zones based on
the ratio of floor areas.
Vsys = (CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm) Asys
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vz = Vsys,adj(Az / Asys)
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = (Qcsc/Qzc)Vz

2. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load


Space Sizing Method: Individual Peak Space Loads
Explanation: With this method, the required zone airflow rate is calculated from the maximum zone
sensible cooling load. Required airflow rates for spaces in the zone are calculated from the maximum
sensible cooling load for each individual space.
Note that if peak loads for all the spaces in the zone occur at the time the peak zone load occurs, the sum
of the space airflow rates will equal the zone airflow rate. If the spaces experience peak loads at different
times, the sum of the space airflow rates will exceed the required zone airflow rate. In such a situation, the
ductwork between the zone terminal and the space diffusers will have excess airflow capacity. The
example below illustrates such a situation.
Example: A zone has a maximum sensible load occurring at August 1600 which requires an airflow of
1000 CFM. The zone contains two spaces. One space has a peak sensible load at August 1300 that
requires an airflow of 550 CFM. The second space has a peak sensible load at August 1700 that requires
an airflow of 600 CFM.
Zone Airflow Calculation: (Same as Method #1)
Space Airflow Calculation:
For all sizing criteria cases, space airflow rate is computed using the required zone supply temperature
and the maximum space cooling load. If a supply temperature was not specified by the user, the
program computes it using the maximum zone sensible cooling load and the required zone airflow rate.
Vs = Qmsc/UaCpaK(Tzc-Tsc)

3. Zone Sizing Method: Sum of Space Airflow Rates


Space Sizing Method: Individual Peak Space Loads
Explanation: Design airflow rates for each space in a zone are calculated from the maximum sensible
cooling load for the space. The required zone airflow rate is the sum of space airflows for all spaces in the
zone.
Example: A zone contains two spaces. One has a peak sensible load at August 1300 that requires an
airflow of 550 CFM. The second space has a peak sensible load at August 1700 that requires an airflow of

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600 CFM. Therefore, the required zone airflow rate is:


(550 CFM) + (600 CFM) = 1150 CFM
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Vz = Sum of Vs, all spaces in zone.
Space Airflow Calculation:
Sizing Criteria is Supply Temperature:
Space supply airflow is computed using the supply temperature and the maximum space sensible
cooling load.
Vs = Qmsc/[UaCpaK(Tzc-Tsc)]
Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM or L/s:
The specified supply CFM or L/s is the airflow for the outlet of the air handling unit. Leakage is
subtracted first to determine the airflow available at zone terminals. This airflow is divided among the
spaces based on maximum space sensible cooling load ratios.
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vs = (Qmsc/ Qmsc,tot) Vsys,adj
Sizing Criteria is Supply CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm:
The airflow available at the outlet of the air handler is computed first. Duct leakage is then subtracted to
determine the airflow available at zone terminals. Finally, this airflow is divided among spaces based on
the ratio of maximum space sensible cooling loads.
Vsys = (CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm) Asys
Vsys,adj = Vsys (1 - Fl/100)
Vs = (Qmsc/Qmsc,tot)Vsys,adj

4. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load


Space Sizing Method: Zone CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm
Explanation: With this method, the zone airflow is calculated from the maximum zone sensible cooling
load. The zone airflow is divided among spaces in the zone on the basis of zone CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm and
space floor area.
Example: Based on the maximum zone sensible load, a zone has a required airflow rate of 1000 CFM.
The zone contains two spaces of 600 sqft and 900 sqft floor area, respectively. Therefore, the overall zone
CFM/sqft is 0.67 CFM/sqft.
The required airflow for the first space will be:
(600 sqft) x (0.67 CFM/sqft) = 400 CFM.
The required airflow for the second space will be:
(900 sqft) x (0.67 CFM/sqft) = 600 CFM.
Zone Airflow Calculation: (Same as Method #1)
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = (Vz/Az) As

C. HEATING-ONLY SYSTEMS
Space and zone airflow calculations for heating-only HVAC systems are explained below for each of the four
sizing methods offered by the program. Within each discussion an explanation of the method, a simple
example and the fundamental equations will be provided. Definitions of variables in these equations are
provided at the end of this help topic. Note that the sizing criteria for heating systems is always the heating
supply temperature.
1. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load
Space Sizing Method: Coincident Space Loads
Explanation: With this method, the zone airflow is calculated from the zone sensible load at the design
heating condition. The zone airflow is then divided among spaces in the zone on the basis of space

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sensible loads, also at the design heating condition.


Example: A zone has a heating sensible load of 21600 BTU/h and a required airflow rate of 1000 CFM.
Further, this zone contains two spaces whose design heating loads are 8000 BTU/h and 13600 BTU/h
respectively.
The required airflow for the first space will be:
(1000 CFM) x (8000 BTU/h)/(21600 BTU/h) = 370 CFM.
The required airflow for the second space will be:
(1000 CFM) x (13600 BTU/h)/(21600 BTU/h) = 630 CFM.
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Vz = Qzh/[UaCpaK(Tsh-Tzh)]
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = (Qsh/Qzh)Vz

2. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load


Space Sizing Method: Individual Peak Space Loads
Explanation: With this method, the required zone airflow rate is calculated from the zone sensible load at
the design heating condition. Required airflow rates for spaces in the zone are calculated from the heating
sensible load for each individual space, also calculated at the design heating condition.
Example: A zone has a design heating load which requires an airflow of 1000 CFM. The zone contains two
spaces. One space has a peak sensible heating load that requires an airflow of 400 CFM. The second
space has a peak sensible heating load that requires an airflow of 600 CFM.
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Vz = Qzh/UaCpaK(Tsh-Tzh)
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = Qsh/UaCpaK(Tsh-Tzh)

3. Zone Sizing Method: Sum of Space Airflow Rates


Space Sizing Method: Individual Peak Space Loads
Explanation: Design airflow rates for each space in a zone are calculated from the design heating load for
the space. The required zone airflow rate is the sum of space airflows for all spaces in the zone.
Example: A zone contains two spaces. One has a peak sensible heating load that requires an airflow of
550 CFM. The second space has a peak sensible heating load that requires an airflow of 600 CFM.
Therefore, the required zone airflow rate is:
(550 CFM) + (600 CFM) = 1150 CFM
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Vz = Sum of Vs, all spaces in zone.
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = Qsh/UaCpaK(Tsh-Tzh)

4. Zone Sizing Method: Peak Zone Sensible Load


Space Sizing Method: Zone CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm
Explanation: With this method, the zone airflow is calculated from the zone sensible load calculated at the
design heating condition. The zone airflow is divided among spaces in the zone on the basis of zone
CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm and space floor area.
Example: Based on the sensible heating load for a zone, an airflow rate of 1000 CFM is required. The
zone contains two spaces of 600 sqft and 900 sqft floor area, respectively. Therefore, the overall zone
CFM/sqft is 0.67 CFM/sqft.
The required airflow for the first space will be:
(600 sqft) x (0.67 CFM/sqft) = 400 CFM.

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The required airflow for the second space will be:


(900 sqft) x (0.67 CFM/sqft) = 600 CFM.
Zone Airflow Calculation:
Vz = Qzh/UaCpaK(Tsh-Tzh)
Space Airflow Calculation:
Vs = (Vz/Az) As

D. Special Sizing Cases


This section describes how the program handles four special cases involving space and zone airflow sizing
calculations.
1. Minimum Supply Air Override. In addition to the sizing criteria for maximum zone airflow, users also
define the minimum required airflow rate for each zone. During sizing calculations HAP compares the zone
supply airflow rate calculated as described in sections A, B or C with the minimum required airflow rate.
The larger of the two values is assigned to the zone. This assures that the zone receives at least the
minimum zone airflow rate specified by the user.
Minimum supply airflow can be defined using five different units of measure. Procedures used to convert
each to minimum airflow in CFM or L/s are described below.
Vz,min = (CFM or L/s specified by user), or
Vz,min = (CFM/sqft or L/s/sqm) Az, or
Vz,min = (CFM/person or L/s/person) Omax, or
Vz,min = Fmin Vz / 100 when % of supply air specified
Vz,min =(Air Changes per Hour specified) x (air volume of spaces in zone) x (hr/60 min)
For VAV systems, Vz,min also serves to define the minimum airflow rate for the VAV terminal.
When a calculated zone airflow rate is overridden by the minimum airflow, airflow rates for the spaces in
the zone must be adjusted. All space airflow rates are increased by the same proportion. For example, if
the calculated zone airflow rate is overridden by a minimum airflow value which is 10% larger, then airflow
rates for all spaces in that zone are increased by 10% as well.
Readers should note that there are two cases in which the minimum zone airflow correction is not used.
Both cases involve the sizing method in which space airflow is calculated from individual peak space loads
and the zone airflow is the sum of the space airflow rates. If this sizing method is specified and the supply
air sizing criteria is CFM (L/s) or CFM/sqft (L/s/sqft), the minimum zone airflow correction is not made
because it would conflict with the supply air sizing criteria. For example, if supply air of 5000 CFM is
specified in conjunction with a minimum zone airflow rate of 5500 CFM, the two specifications are in direct
conflict with one another. Such conflicts must be corrected in the system input data by the user.
2. Direct Exhaust Air Override. When direct exhaust air specified for a zone is larger than the required zone
airflow rate, the program overrides the calculated zone airflow rates and sets zone airflow equal to the
direct exhaust air. For example, if the direct exhaust for a zone is specified as 500 CFM and the calculated
zone airflow rate is 300 CFM, the program will override the calculated value and set zone airflow to 500
CFM.
Direct exhaust air is air exhausted from a zone before it flows through a return plenum or duct. Sample
applications include laboratory exhaust hoods, kitchen exhaust hoods and toilet exhausts. In order to
maintain the specified direct exhaust airflow the zone airflow rate must be equal to or larger than direct
exhaust.
When the calculated zone airflow rate is overridden in this way, airflow rates for spaces in the zone must be
adjusted. This is done using the following equation:
Vs,new = Vs,old(Vz,new/Vz,old)
3. Outdoor Ventilation Air Override. When the design outdoor ventilation airflow rate is larger than the
required system supply airflow rate, the system supply airflow rate is set equal to the ventilation airflow
rate. The program assumes that ventilation airflow has higher priority since it is often mandated by codes
and therefore must be maintained.
Example: The calculated system supply airflow rate is 10000 CFM. The calculated outdoor ventilation
airflow rate is 12000 CFM. Therefore, the calculated system airflow rate will be overridden and set equal to
12000 CFM.

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When the calculated system supply airflow rate is overridden, all other zone and space airflow rates in the
system must be adjusted. This is done using the following equations:
Vz,new = Vz,old (Vsys,new/Vsys,old)
Vs,new = Vs,old(Vz,new/Vz,old)
4. Series Fan Powered Mixing Boxes. When sizing airflow rates for zones containing series fan powered
mixing box terminals, and using a sizing method that considers peak zone sensible load, the required zone
airflow rate is based on the peak zone sensible load plus the heat gain for the terminal fan.

D. Variable Definitions
A = Site altitude, ft or m above sea level.
As = Total floor area in space, sqft or sqm.
Asys = Total floor area for all zones in system sqft or sqm.
Az = Total floor area in zone, sqft or sqm.
Cpa = Heat capacity of air, 0.24 BTU/(lb-F) or 1004.8 J/(kg-K).
Fmin = Minimum supply airflow rate as a percentage of maximum airflow rate, %.
Fl = Duct leakage rate, percent.
K = Unit conversion factor,
= 60 min/hr for English units and
= cubic meter/(1000 L) for SI Metric units.
Omax = Maximum scheduled occupancy for zone, number of people.
UaCpaK = Product of air density, heat capacity and unit conversion factor. Adjusted
for altitude .
Ua = Air density corrected for altitude, lb/cuft or kg/(cubic meter)
Qcsc = Coincident space sensible cooling load, BTU/hr or W. This space load is
computed or the month and hour when the maximum zone
sensible cooling load occurs.
Qmsc = Maximum space sensible cooling load, BTU/h or W.
Qmsc,tot = Sum of maximum space sensible cooling loads for all spaces served by
the air system, BTU/hr or W.
Qsh = Design space heating load, BTU/hr or W.
Qzc = Maximum zone sensible cooling load, BTU/h or W.
Qzc,tot = Sum of maximum zone sensible cooling loads for all zones served by
system, BTU/hr or W.
Qzh = Design zone heating load, BTU/hr or W.
Tzc = Zone occupied cooling thermostat setpoint, F or C.
Tzh = Zone occupied heating thermostat setpoint, F or C.
Tsc = Cooling design supply air temperature specified by user, F or C.
Tsh = Heating design supply air temperature specified by user, F or C.
Vs = Required space airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vs,new = Adjusted space airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vs,old = Original calculated space airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vsys = System supply airflow specified by user, CFM or L/s. Represents airflow
at outlet of air handling unit.
Vsys,adj = System supply airflow available after duct leakage is subtracted, CFM or
L/s.
Vsys,new = Adjusted system supply airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vsys,old = Original calculated or specified system supply airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vz = Required zone airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vz,min = Minimum zone airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vz,new = Adjusted zone airflow rate, CFM or L/s.
Vz,old = Original calculated zone airflow rate, CFM or L/s.

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