Heat in a building

Sustainable HVAC Design: Using Air Movement in Air Conditioned Buildings

Explore benefits of an innovative HVAC design strategy that pairs traditional air conditioning with energy-efficient air movement.


From schools to shopping malls and movie theaters, we’ve become accustomed to over air-conditioned spaces – a design habit that is wasteful not just from a business perspective, but from an environmental one too. Meanwhile, air movement has been relegated to a mere alternative means of cooling. By reconsidering the relationship between air conditioning and elevated air speed, design professionals can affect meaningful change in building sustainability and comfort.

The innovative HVAC design strategy that pairs traditional air conditioning with energy-efficient air movement permits a substantial offset of necessary HVAC capacity and likewise improves air quality by ensuring fresh air reaches the occupant breathing zone. After construction is complete, the incorporation of air movement allows a reduction in energy consumption, as end-users can raise the thermostat setpoint without sacrificing comfort. This presentation will review recent changes to ASHRAE Standards 55 and 90.1 which substantiate the impact of elevated air speed, and will explore benefits of this innovative HVAC design strategy.

This course is presented by AIA Program Partner Big Ass Solutions.

Learning objectives

  • Identify the factors that affect thermal comfort.
  • Explain the sustainability benefits of a design strategy that uses air movement in conjunction with traditional air conditioning.
  • Describe how elevated air speed can improve building IAQ.
  • Understand how ASHRAE Standards 55 and 90.1 are applied in air conditioned spaces.


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 $40  non-member
 $25  member
1.00 LU
  • HSW
  • RIBA


  • Thomas Lesser

    Thomas Lesser

    Research and Development Manager, Big Ass Fans

    Thomas Lesser is a research and development manager at fan and light manufacturer Big Ass Fans....