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Heating System Design

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Key Areas
Course content
Learning outcomes
Who should attend
How to book
Course fees

Key Areas

The module is primarily intended for junior to intermediate engineers who are being asked to design a heating system for the first time.  However, the module is not for the complete beginner.  There's an assumption from the outset that the user will have completed a college or university course on mechanical engineering, or possibly a course on building services engineering, and so will have some understanding of the basic fluid dynamic principles that underlie system design.  They will also have access to the support of a more senior engineer within their organisation who can guide them on the procedures and protocols for completing design drawings and specification documents.

Course content 

Thermal comfort:

  • Human physiology
  • Comfort parameters, wet bulb, dry bulb, etc
  • Temperature definitions
  • Air movement and internal temperatures

Thermal load calculations and assessment:

  • External conditions
  • Heat loss models
  • Calculations
  • Fabric and ventilation losses
  • Infiltration
  • Hot water and Ventilation loads
  • Demand profiles
  • Selection of heating systems
  • CIBSE Knowledge Series, How to design a heating system
  • Capital and operating costs

Heat generation:

  • Fuel types
  • Plant size/ratio and design margins
  • Biomass, solar thermal, CHP, heat pumps
  • Condensing and non-condensing boilers
  • Fuel storage
  • Plant room design


  • Installation issues
  • Safety in design
  • Open/closed systems
  • Pressurisation
  • Pumps: Constant and variable volume
  • Water treatment, expansion and de-aerators
  • Primary and secondary systems
  • Pipework
  • Insulation, sizing, materials, expansion
  • Zoning


  • Natural convectors
  • Forced convectors
  • Radiation
  • Low-surface temperature systems


  • Metering
  • TRVs
  • Weather compensation
  • 2/3/4 Port valves
  • Optimisation and frost protection
  • Building logbook
  • Occupant control
  • Energy conservation

Learning outcomes 

Following successful completion of the module, users should be able to:
  • Appreciate the need to maintain environmental parameters within known limits so as to ensure acceptable human comfort. These limits will recognise the extend to which the needs of most building users will be met and the factors such as temperature and air movement velocities that will influence such decisions.
  • Calculate, from known external conditions (making due allowances for both fabric losses and infiltration together with demand profiles), the local and total heat requirements for the building
  • Assess a suitable form of fuel and boiler combination
  • Consider and suggest a suitable method of distribution throughout the building and understand the special implications of such a choice.

Who should attend

CIBSE online learning courses are suitable for those wishing to enhance and support their current knowledge base, as well as graduates within an engineering discipline. 

Each unit has been peer reviewed and tested through this group. The units allow students to take a coordinated journey through an individual topic or a series of topics. The units form the backbone of several corporate training schemes.

How to book 

Visit CIBSE's new online learning portal at

Course fees 

£300 (£360 inc vat)

Corporate subscribers, please contact Charlotte Stubbs