Univ. of Maryland Engineers Offer Long-Term Relief for Heating and Cooling Costs

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff February 15, 2006

New software developed at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, with support from industry sponsors, may provide some solutions for spiraling heating and cooling costs. Called CoilDesigner, the software helps manufacturers design customized HVAC systems that cost less to build and use less energy. Developers claim that it may lead to dramatic savings.

“CoilDesigner can help designers reduce heating system equipment costs by more than 10%,” says Reinhard Radermacher, professor of mechanical engineering, director of the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering at the Clark School and an internationally recognized expert in energy conversion systems, “In particular, integrated cooling, heating and power (CHP) systems, heat pumps, air-conditioners and refrigeration systems.”

will be significant.”

Developed with the support of industrial sponsors such as York, CoilDesigner software allows manufacturers to search through millions of design options to create the most efficient and/or lowest-priced heat pump or air conditioning system for their client’s needs.

“CoilDesigner’s analysis tools pointed us in the right direction,” says Mahesh Valiya Naduvath, manager of York/Johnson Controls’ engineered systems heat transfer team. “The software’s features and capabilities are very user-friendly.”

When used early in the product design process, the software can provide significant benefits to manufacturers, which in turn can mean cost savings for consumers, Radermacher says. “The benefits to consumers from this design software could be seen as early as 12 months from now.”

There are several programs available as part of the CoilDesigner package. CoilDesigner is a tool for creating air-cooled heat exchangers used in a range of applications, from automotive radiators and climate control components to air-conditioners, heat pumps and refrigeration systems of a wide range of sizes. Two of these programs include VapCyc and TransRef. VapCyc simulates vapor compression cycles (the processes that make heat pumps work) in residential air conditioners, heaters and various types of refrigeration systems, and allows for the optimization of efficiency and cost. TransRef helps in the design of the controls of these systems.

Features of the CoilDesigner software include a user-friendly interface specifically geared towards the needs of design engineers and allows for programming by multiple users. Other utilities include unit converters and calculators for assorted variables.

Center for Environmental Energy Engineering Integrated Systems Optimization Consortium ISOC Software

Datasheet (pdf)

Clark School homepage .