Last Updated S022020


Unit Name Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Systems
Unit Code BME304S
Unit Duration 1 Semester

Bachelor of Science (Engineering)

Duration 3 years    

Year Level Three
Unit Creator / Reviewer N/A
Core/Sub-Discipline: Sub-discipline
Pre/Co-requisites BME207S, BME209S
Credit Points


Total Course Credit Points 81 (27 x 3)

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload (Total student workload including “contact hours” = 10 hours per week; 5 hours per week for 24 week delivery)
Pre-recordings / Lecture – 1.5 hours
Tutorial – 1.5 hours
Guided labs / Group work / Assessments – 2 hours
Personal Study recommended – 5 hours

Unit Description and General Aims

The objective in presenting this unit is to provide students with a structured and in-depth knowledge of the technical principles and applications of HVAC systems.

The subject matter covered in this unit will include: a detailed overview of HVAC fundamentals such as water, solid, and gas properties; the concepts associated with heat transfer and fluid flow; a review of psychrometric charts; an examination of the factors that influence design choices; indoor air quality; load calculations; heating and ventilation; and, air conditioning systems. Students will be introduced to the principles associated with state-of-the-art systems including Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS) and enthalpy wheels.

At the conclusion of this unit, students will have been imparted with the requisite knowledge to evaluate the functional aspects of various air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, discuss and apply various control methodologies, carry out HVAC system maintenance, and systematically troubleshoot HVAC system faults.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Examines the fundamental HVAC concepts and principles.
    Bloom's Level 4
  2. Interpret and use psychrometric charts.
    Bloom's Level 3
  3. Perform heating and cooling load calculations.
    Bloom's Level 3
  4. Investigate architectural, engineering, and interior design choices for good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
    Bloom's Level 4
  5. Detail the procedures involved in HVAC system design.
    Bloom's Level 4
  6. Install, maintain, and troubleshoot HVAC systems.
    Bloom's Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type When assessed Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Quiz

Example Topic: Thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid flow, psychrometry, design conditions and comfort air conditioning.

Students will complete a quiz with MCQ type answers to 30 questions to demonstrate relevant knowledge of the basics of HVAC, comfort air conditioning and psychrometric processes.

Due after Topic 3 15% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Short answer questions

Example Topic: Indoor design, outdoor climate, ventilation, indoor air quality, insulation, heating and cooling loads.

Students will be required to answer short answer type questions on indoor and outdoor design considerations, indoor air quality, insulation, and perform heating and cooling load calculations.

Due after Topic 6 20% 3

Assessment 3

Type: Practical / Remote Lab / Simulation / Research paper review/ Report

Example Topic: HVAC system design and operations, air conditioning equipment, refrigeration, air flow and pressure losses in ducts.

Students will answer questions on design choices for good indoor air quality, describe the design and operation of different types of HVAC systems, air conditioning equipment, refrigeration, perform calculations to determine pressure and dynamic losses in ducts and also perform simple remote lab exercises.

Due after Topic 9 20% 4, 5

Assessment 4

Type: Exam or project

Example Topic: Design an air-conditioning system.

Students will design a simple air-conditioning system for a given application by performing the necessary calculations.

Final week 40% 5

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment / reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 to 6

Prescribed and Recommended Readings


Practical Fundamentals of Heating, Ventilation & Air conditioning (HVAC) for Engineers and Technicians, IDC Technologies, Perth


McQuiston, FC, Parker, JD & Spitler, JD 2004, Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning: Analysis and Design, 6th edn, Wiley, ISBN-13: 978-0471470151

Vedavarz, A, Kumar, S & Hussain, MI 2007, HVAC: The Handbook of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning for Design and Implementation, 4th edn, Industrial Press, ISBN-13: 978-0831131630. Online version available at: 20Ventilation% 20% 26% 20Air% 20Conditioning% 20Handbook% 20for% 20Design% 20% 26% 20Implementation & sort_on = default & b-group-by = true & b-search-type = tech-reference & b-sort-on = default

P Jones, Air conditioning Engineering, 5th Edition (2001), Elsevier- Butterworth Heinemann, ISBN:0-7506-5074-5

F. Hundy, A.R.Trott and T.C.Welch, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Heat Pumps, 5th Edition (2016), Elsevier- Butterworth Heinemann, ISBN: 978-0-08-100647-4

  • ASHRAE Handbook 2018-Refrigeration
  • ASHRAE Handbook 2019-HVAC Applications
  • ASHRAE Handbook 2020-RHVAC Systems and Equipment
  • ASHRAE Handbook 2021-Fundamentals

Journal, website,ventilation_and_air.pdf

Notes and Reference Texts

Knovel library:
IDC Technologies
Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

Topic 1

HVAC Fundamentals

1. Properties of solids, gases, and water
2. Force, work, power, energy calculations
3. Heat and temperature
4. Change of phase
5. Pressure, density, specific volume, and mass flow
6. Principles of thermodynamics
7. Temperature and its measurement
8. Pressure and temperature relationship
9. Laws of thermodynamics
10. Fundamentals of heat transfer and fluid flow

Topic 2


1. Introduction to psychrometry
2. Physical and thermodynamic properties of air
3. Development of the psychrometric chart
4. Psychrometric processes
5. Measurement of wet and dry bulb temperature of air
6. Calculations

Topic 3

Design Conditions and Comfort Air-Conditioning

1. Thermodynamics of the human body
2. Indoor comfort considerations and role of clothing
3. Comfort charts
4. Indoor design conditions
5. Outdoor climate considerations
6. Design of ventilation systems
7. Dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS)
8. Enthalpy wheels

Topic 4

Heating and Cooling Load Calculations

1. Heat flow through structures
2. Infiltration and exfiltration
3. Solar heat gains
4. Internal, external, and system heat gain
5. Miscellaneous heat sources
6. Design of air-conditioning systems
7. By-pass factor (BF) consideration

Topic 5

Insulation of Air-conditioning Systems

1. Desired properties of an ideal insulating material
2. Types of insulation materials
3. Factors affecting thermal conductivity
4. Heat transfer through insulation
5. Economical thickness of insulation
6. Insulated systems
7. Importance of relative humidity for the selection of insulation

Topic 6


1. Central air conditioning systems
2. IAQ definition
3. Effects on occupants
4. Basic investigation techniques
5. Architectural, engineering, and interior design choices for good IAQ

Topic 7

HVAC Systems

  1. System design
  2. System operation
  3. All-air systems
  4. All-water systems
  5. Air-water systems
  6. Heat pumps
  7. Air handling units

Topic 8

Duct Design, Air flow and its Distribution

1. Air flow and pressure losses
2. Dynamic losses in ducts
3. Duct design and arrangement
4. Air distribution system
5. Ventilation systems
6. Effect of vertical temperature gradient and corrective measures

Topic 9

Air-Conditioning Equipment and Refrigeration

1. Air filters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers
2. Fans and blowers
3. Grills and registers
4. Refrigeration methods
5. Air refrigeration system
6. Vapour compression and absorption refrigeration systems
7. Important refrigerants
8. Future refrigerants

Topic 10

Controls and Instrumentation

1. Definitions
2. Elements of control
3. Control system types
4. Control methods
5. Selection of control system
6. Typical control systems
7. Control specifications

Topic 11


1. Installation
2. Charging the refrigeration unit
3. Adding oil to the compressor
4. Commissioning
5. Other service operations
6. Do’s and don’ts

Topic 12

Maintenance, Troubleshooting and Unit Review

  1. Maintenance
  2. Troubleshooting procedures
  3. Unit review: In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialized topic if applicable to that cohort.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A