- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 22 Dec 2018
Thermal zones in building design
To help develop this article, click ‘Edit this article’ above.
In the design of heating ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC), a ‘zone’ is an area of a building in which temperature is controlled by one thermostat. This is not the same as a single space or room. For example, a small house, in which thermal demand is relatively constant throughout, might be controlled by a single thermostat and so considered a single zone.
In a more complex, larger building where there may be significant differences in thermal demand, there may be multiple zones.
In simple buildings, a single zone might be supplied by a single boiler, or air handling unit. In more complex buildings with varying demands, multiple zones might be supplied by a single central HVAC system, but each zone might correspond to a single terminal unit that provides local thermostatic control.
Carefully designed zoning can help rationalise different thermal demands and so reduce the number of HVAC subsystems required. This can reduce capital and operational costs. It is important that this is considered as an integral part of the concept design stage and that HVAC is not simply added on at the end of the design process.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Wellbeing to influence mix of home and office based working.
An introduction to cobotics.
Survey reports on outlook for the engineering sector.
A simple path to possible error avoidance.
Construction + technology = ConTech.
New low and high tech tools enter the marketplace.
Report looks at mental health in the built environment.
Radiant wall heating method to control rising damp.
What future infrastructure provision might look like.
Highlighting the health benefits of home improvement.
Pavilions for music, entertainment, and leisure. Book review.
Broadening our understanding of Dublin’s chequered social history.
The charm of London's Cabmen's shelters.
Future Weather Files research tool looking for feedback.
Exploring the Colour Rendering Index.
Why it's important to find out what went wrong.
ECA reviews the shape of the construction job market.