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Use Of Computers In Undergraduate Hvac Design

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1092.1 - 6.1092.7



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Charles Forsberg

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session #2793

Use of Computers in Undergraduate HVAC Design

Charles H. Forsberg Department of Engineering, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY 11549


A senior capstone design course in Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC), with emphasis on the use of computers, has been given at Hofstra University for the past several years. After learning the fundamentals of psychrometrics and HVAC processes, students are assigned the task of designing an air conditioning system for a commercial or institutional facility. Past projects have included university buildings, retail stores, and churches.

The HVAC design includes selection and sizing of the equipment, locating the equipment within the existing facility, and designing and locating the ductwork. The cost of the HVAC installation and the expected operating and maintenance costs are estimated. The students visit the job site to experience the practical aspects of the project and to obtain necessary input data for the software packages, which have included equal friction duct sizing software and software for determination of heating/cooling loads and annual energy usages and costs.

The course has been very successful. It has been well-received by students, who see it as a valuable practical complement to the many theoretical courses in the curriculum. Several graduates believe that the course, due to its practical aspects and considerable use of computer software, has played a significant role in their obtaining employment. From the instructor’s point of view, teaching the course is very satisfying. The course forces the students to use and build upon knowledge gained from several previous courses, and introduces the students to new software tools. Furthermore, it enhances the students’ appreciation of the need for accurate input of data to the software packages and the need for careful, critical evaluation of the software output. Finally, since there is no separate HVAC course in the curriculum, this capstone design course has provided a means of introducing the students to HVAC, a subject area which should be experienced by all mechanical engineering majors.

I. Background

Mechanical engineering students at Hofstra University are required to take two capstone senior design courses, one in machine design/mechanics, the other in thermal/fluids. The author teaches the thermal/fluids course and usually selects projects in the Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) area. This is due to the lack of a separate HVAC course in the Hofstra curriculum and also the author’s personal interests. The course has two main goals: to provide the students with an introduction to HVAC and to give the students a worthwhile,

“Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education”

Forsberg, C. (2001, June), Use Of Computers In Undergraduate Hvac Design Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9946

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