Vitruvius was a Roman architect and engineer during the first century BC, who proposed the concept that all buildings should have three attributes: Firmitas, utilitas and venustas (strength, utility and aesthetics).  

In his work describing the construction of military installations, Vitruvius also commented on the miasma theory that unhealthy air from wetlands was the cause of illness. It therefore makes sense that Vitruvius’ concept can be applied when choosing the right air-conditioning for a project, reducing “bad” air in favour of efficient, comfortable spaces. 

Typical applications 

Electric heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) is typically used in: 

  • Hospitals (theatres, intensive care units and general wards). 
  • Hotels. 
  • Laboratories. 
  • Data centres. 
  • Research centres. 
  • Banks. 
  • High-spec homes. 
  • Clinics. 
  • Process cooling and heating. 

Practical evaluation using the Vitruvius principles 

Evaluate the best HVAC solution through consideration of the following points, as described by the three Vitruvius principles of architecture. 

Firmitas (Strength/structural integrity)  Utilitas (Functional adequacy) Venustas (Aesthetics)  
Construction materials (quality = longevity).  
Stable electronics (loadshedding = power surges). 
Corrosion protection (coastal). 
Filtration efficiency (coil protection and health). 
Filtration and panel material (maintenance process). 
Extreme weather conditions (sub-zero to heatwave can cause component fatigue). 
Low temperature cooling and heating (-20oC to 46oC).  
High temperature cooling – 46oC ambient. 
Smart energy – high coefficient of performance (COP) modes. 
Low sound level – 19DB Heat recovery – simultaneous cooling and heating  
Simultaneous heating and cooling of water – from 6oC to 70o
Night mode: Function light dim. 
Beeping sound off. 
Outdoor noise level drop. 
I see sensor. 
Aesthetics with performance.  
Reliable. 
Complete the task and achieve the desired comfort level. 
Aesthetics without comfort is a failed installation. 
A beautiful space without human comfort is always a failure.  

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to https://en.wikipedia.org/ and https://www.msaircon.co.za/ for the information in this editorial. 

Top tip: Use the principles of strength, utility, and aesthetics when selecting HVAC.  

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