Choosing A Centralized Or Decentralized HVAC System For Apartment Buildings
When building an apartment building or turning an existing structure into an apartment building, a major concern that needs to be established early in the planning is the type of HVAC system for the building. Both centralized and decentralized have unique advantages and efficiency.
The amenities and layout of the building can affect the system that is right for the building. A centralized HVAC system may be problematic to implement in larger structures, especially those with several floors. A centralized system not only requires extensive modifications like ductwork and how the heated or cooled air can be evenly supplied to each unit. For larger, more complex apartment buildings, the only reasonable option might be a decentralized system. This allows each individual apartment to adjust the temperature within their residence. Even in larger structures, a centralized HVAC system can be used in addition to a decentralized one. A centralized system is an ideal way to heat or cool common areas like the laundromat or a community room.
In addition to your installation expenses, you should consider how each type of HVAC system will affect residents. Some apartment buildings use centralized systems and charge residents a flat fee each month for their utilities. Although charging a flat amount is more helpful to residents because they know exactly how much their bill will be, it also allows for residents to be unfairly charged since the amount of heating and cooling they experience is out of their control. Decentralized systems work better in this situation. The upfront labor and fees may be high, but residents can adjust their temperature to remain more comfortable in their apartment, especially if they have health problems. Decentralized options include central AC for each unit, mini-splits, or window units.
Installation And Maintenance
The installation of a centralized system is typically easier and less costly than decentralized systems. Another advantage of a centralized system is maintenance is less complicated since there is only one unit to fix. Using a decentralized approach means regardless of the specific type of system, each apartment will need its own unit. Both installation and maintenance can be more costly and cumbersome since you will need to be responsible for each unit, which could include hundreds of units for a single, large building. Although a decentralized system can be more costly, it also means that if a single unit has failed or otherwise needs repairs, everyone in the building is not affected.
When selecting an HVAC system for an apartment building, your choices are centralized or decentralized systems. One of the major factors will be the expense of installing and maintaining a system, but also the comfort of residents.
To learn more, contact an HVAC contractor in your area.