When building a safe, secure, and smoothly-running steel structure, it’s crucial to get every component of your project precise. Steel is versatile, strong, and aesthetic—but the very properties that make it such a good building material also require consideration when you’re designing a functional (and comfortable) building.
For example, when you’re ready to select and install an efficient HVAC system in your steel building, you need to think about insulation, ventilation, sizing, and even factors such as the color of your building and how much shade it naturally receives.
Are you interested in learning a few tricks of the trade? Here’s what you need to know about best practices for HVAC design.
Tips and Tricks for Designing a High-Quality HVAC System for a Steel Building
Keep the following practices in mind when you’re outfitting your steel structure with heating, cooling, and proper ventilation.
Do: Optimize your structure for energy efficiency.
If you’re working with an expert steel structure design team to construct your building from the ground up, know that there are ways that you can design your building, so it’s naturally got a lot of cost-saving, energy-efficient potential. For example, if you’re able, add windows that face south—they’ll provide extra opportunities for heat in the winter. Add blinds or shutters to cover those winters during hot summer days—select energy-efficient windows and doors. Also, plan landscaping and trees around your building to provide shade or add overhangs to your roof. You could even consider painting your roof a cooler, more reflective color. The reflective color will help avoid soaking up heat from the sun, which will help with even temperature management.
Don’t: Use an undersized HVAC system.
Compared to HVAC units for non-steel buildings, your HVAC units for steel are just going to need to be bigger. Why? First of all, no matter how many precautions you take, steel is less naturally insulating than wood. Your HVAC system will need to produce more heat (or cool air) to compensate for the potential energy loss. Secondly, your steel building will likely have lots of wide, open spaces. Those open spaces contain a lot of air! Your heating and cooling systems will need to be strong enough to circulate the air mass effectively. While a smaller unit will be slightly more cost-friendly, sizing your units appropriately for steel buildings will pay off.
Do: Insulate, insulate, insulate.
That said, there are steps you can take to reduce heat loss so your optimized HVAC system can work properly. The primary strategy you should follow is to insulate your structure as much as possible. The good news? Builders typically construct steel walls in a specific way that makes them easy to insulate. In many cases, you’ll be able to put sheets of insulation directly against a flat steel wall instead of needing to deal with studs and sheetrock.
Don’t: Ignore proper ventilation as you’re installing your heating and cooling systems.
Finally, make sure that as you’re designing and managing your air conditioning and heating mechanisms, you’re providing a safe way to allow for airflow and circulation through your steel building. Not only will good ventilation also assist with temperature management, but these systems will also work with your insulation strategies to keep your HVAC units in good health and your heating and cooling costs low. You can choose from various ventilation systems, depending on the type of steel structure you’re building and your goals for the system. Whether you choose a solar-powered unit, a heat-activated model, or a ridge ventilator, having a way to move consistently fresh air through your building will help keep your space safe, pleasant, and energy-efficient.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when you’re selecting an HVAC system and optimizing your space so it works as well as it possibly can. However, teaming up with experienced contractors to ensure that you follow best practices will pay off for the entire building’s lifetime.
Trust Georgia Start-To-Finish Steel Contractors for the Design Expertise You Need
At Peak Steel Contractors, we’re proud to be able to take your structure from initial design to finished building with all required systems properly in place. Look through our past projects to learn more about the services we can offer you!