HVACR: B up to date

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Published: 11 August 2016


​CIBSE’s Guide B in the seminal guide on what is considered best practice in the design of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Hywel Davies, CIBSE Technical Director outlines some of the key changes.

CIBSE Guide B: Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration has been revised. For the past 70+ years this seminal CIBSE document has outlined what constitutes good practice in the design of HVAC systems. The 2016 edition is no exception.

The Guide is intended to aide to designers and specifiers of HVAC systems. It is also a contemporary source of reference for anyone who wants to look up something HVAC specific.
​Over the decades the publication has continued to evolve under the guidance of various steering committees in response to changing technologies, design priorities and design approaches. Earlier versions of the Guide, for example, explained how to do things but did not place sufficient emphasis on the need for energy efficiency.

​One of one of the most significant changes for this revision is that the content now acknowledges the principles around controlling GHG emissions and the need for energy efficiency.

​Guide B is published in five sections:

  • B0: Applications and Activities: HVAC strategies for common building types
  • B1: Heating, including heating and hot water systems
  • B2: Ventilation , including ductwork
  • B3: Air conditioning and refrigeration
  • B4: Noise and vibration control for building services

Refrigeration Innovation

​Sections B1 to B4 address issues that relate to specific services. While there is increased emphasis on energy efficiency throughout, much of the technical information remains unchanged. New technologies added to the Guide include innovative refrigeration methods such as adsorption and magnetic refrigeration and emerging refrigeration technologies such as the introduction of CO2 and the resurgence of ammonia refrigerant for chillers.

​HVAC and Building Types

Section B0 is new. B0 is not a design guide; instead it is intended to highlight the key HVAC features that are important for a wide variety of building types and activities. This includes activities such as data centres, clean rooms, hotels, dealing rooms and even farms, all of which have very different and sometime very specific requirements. Some sections also include bibliographies to direct readers to the latest activity-specific documentation, such as Health Technical Memoranda in the hospitals section.

This new section will be useful for engineers who need to familiarise themselves with a specific occupant activity. It will also be useful for new CIBSE members, particularly those with a more general engineering background who need to understand the main issues that need to be considered and typical solutions that could be adopted

Useful for Numerous Applications

Guide B is not prescriptive. There are invariably several design solutions applicable to most situations. Where this is the case, the document sets out to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each options so that a designer can decide on what is the most appropriate solution for a specific project or application.

Throughout this edition regulations are acknowledged but, because these vary between jurisdictions and are likely to change more frequently than the Guide is revised, they are not described in detail. Reference is also made to relative cost; detailed cost information is not provided because this is often subject to project specific factors. And, while the content is focused on the UK, the Guide will be useful to engineers working on schemes in other countries, particularly those with a similar climate and regulations.

All sections of the Guide are available to buy and download in both printed and digital versions. The one exception to this rule is B0, which is available online only because CIBSE wants readers’ contributions to keep the content up-to-date. Members’ contributions already make up much of the content of B0 and the hope is that for areas where there is a dearth of knowledge or where rapid technological changes are taking place members will add their experiences to the body of knowledge. Over time it is hoped that the online document will become a comprehensive reference source of contemporary engineering solutions for a wide variety of uses and applications.

For engineers that want to look up something specific, the printed version of the guide includes a comprehensive index while the electronic version incorporates a search function that should help speed access to information.

The Guide is available from the CIBSE knowledge portal, go to www.cibse.org