Heating/Cooling Load Calculations

When it comes to designing heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) systems for homes, we believe in doing it right the first time. As part of Ecolighten’s mechanical design services, we conduct F280-12 compliant load calculations to ensure your HVAC system is customized for your home and operates at peak performance all year round.


What Are Load Calculations and Why Should They Be F280-12 Compliant?

A load calculation determines a home’s heating and cooling needs and informs the size of the HVAC system required.

Load calculations were once conducted manually; so many HVAC contractors skipped this step and made assumptions based on square footage. As you can imagine, this guessing method doesn’t offer precise information and can lead to a home being burdened with oversized and inefficient HVAC equipment that compromises home comfort, wastes money and energy.

Within the building industry, there are a number of modelling practices, technology and software approaches with varying degrees of sophistication available to HVAC contractors and builders to guide the selection and design of HVAC equipment. Current industry practices range from the guestimate method mentioned above (X BTUs per square foot) to spreadsheet models (e.g. TECA Quality First™) to NRCan’s HOT2000 to HVAC Design software (e.g. Wrightsoft) and others.

Thanks to advancements in technology, load calculations are now computerized, making it easy for a qualified mechanical HVAC designer to create a digitized model of your home and deliver exact results.

This valuable information helps builders, architects, designers and homeowners create extremely energy efficient, cost-effective, HVAC systems, and plan ahead for how to fit them seamlessly into the home design.

To avoid disappointments and issues that arise when HVAC systems are oversized, be sure to avoid the ‘rule of thumb’ method, and work with professionals who understand and use load calculation tools that meet the F280- 12 standard. This is a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard on how to properly size HVAC equipment. It is nationally recognized and referenced by all Canadian Building Codes.

The new F280-12 standard addresses the shortcomings of the original standard published in 1990 that resulted in the oversizing of residential HVAC equipment and ductwork and accounts for the evolution of building codes and growth of high performance homes in Canada. (Read more about CAN/CSA F280-12: Determining the Required Capacity of Residential Space Heating and Cooling Appliances)

Load Calculation Benefits

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to HVAC systems. A load calculation conducted early on in the design process can save ample time, money and energy by:

  • Giving all stakeholders accurate information to work with in the early planning stages (avoiding costly surprises later)
  • Avoiding design problems by getting the right size system
  • Increasing temperature stability and comfort all year round
  • Avoiding unnecessary heating and cooling bills
  • Increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions

Ecolighten insists on conducting F280-12 compliant load calculations to ensure the HVAC system in your next new construction or major renovation project is right the first time. Leaving out this critical step may save time in the short term, but it can cause many headaches in the long run. Call Ecolighten today. When you see the energy performance benefits on your next project, you will be glad you did.

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