A performance-based acoustical design strategy for centralized air distribution networks
HVAC engineers are frequently challenged to design centralized air distribution systems with a high standard of performance considering comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor environmental quality. However, conventional design processes of centralized air distribution systems rely on rules of thumb and engineers’ experience, resulting in workable designs but not necessarily optimal in terms of performance and cost. One major challenge of this design problem is optimally designing the ductwork of a centralized air distribution system. To overcome the ductwork design-associated challenges, a simulation-based method can be an effective tool to achieve optimal ductwork design and performance. The foundation for such a framework has been laid in previous research developing a ductwork design optimization algorithm. This algorithm provides a groundwork method to design ductwork systems while minimizing their life-cycle costs.Nevertheless, this optimization method and the other existing design methods are limited to generating ductwork design configurations by only considering the aeraulic performance of the ductwork system. Despite the fact that the acoustic and aeraulic performances are correlated, the acoustic performance assessment and designing silencers still do not receive enough attention while designing the ductwork configuration (i.e., layout and sizes). They are typically considered after deciding on the ductwork configuration design. Yet, considering the diversity of the ductwork layouts and sizes in the design process, different acoustic issues must be considered to guarantee acoustic comfort. For example, mechanical ventilation noises radiated by air openings or ducts (duct breakout), which are flow-dependent, should be minimized. Cross-talk through the ventilation system can limit the sound insulation between neighboring rooms.This paper aims to emphasize the importance of early consideration of acoustic performance and designing silencers in HVAC ductwork systems. Optimally designing silencers is challenging and still primarily relies on the design engineer’s skills. Although the outcome designs are possibly workable, they might not result in optimal performances and costs. Thereby, this paper proposes an aero-acoustical simulation-based design strategy to optimize the design process, knowing that the aeraulic and acoustical performances are correlated. The strategy considers the noises radiated from air openings, duct breakouts, and cross talk. By applying this method to a test case with two different ductwork configurations for the same floor of a university building, the strategy demonstrated the importance of early consideration of acoustic performance and silencer design by showing their influence on the system’s life-cycle-cost.
Source (book)
Proceedings of Building Simulation 2023: 18th Conference of IBPSA, September 4-6, 2023, Shanghai, China
International Building Performance Simulation Association , 2023
p. 1513-1521
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
Research group
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Creation 16.03.2024
Last edited 17.06.2024
To cite this reference