What is Airflow Balancing?
Airflow balancing refers to the process of adjusting and optimizing the airflow within a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system or a building’s ventilation system. This task involves precise measurements to maintain comfort and indoor air quality.
Airflow balancing is a meticulous process due to the multitude of factors that influence HVAC system performance. It requires a combination of technical expertise, attention to detail, and a systematic approach to ensure that each space receives the right amount of conditioned air for optimal comfort and efficiency.
With the CWa (Connected Workflow application) for Balancer, HVAC workers have a simple and easy to follow workflow to measure and fine-tune the flow of air to achieve maximum comfort.
My responsibilities for this project included numerous requirements given by the project manager. I needed to implement a workflow that was simple to understand. There are currently other modules (mobile apps) within the Connected Workflow application, so creating a similar look and feel was necessary to avoid it looking like a completely different app. Unfortunately it does take a extensive amount of time to take these measurements, but with the Airflow Balancing module, it makes the job exponentially easier, removing the need to calculate on one’s own. Another important feature of the project, which was added a little later on, was the functionality to export results, save them locally to the mobile device, and share them via email as a PDF.
Create an app that makes calculations simple for technicians, that also looks like it belongs in the CWa suite (same look and feel)
- Make navigating back and forth between steps easy if necessary
- Show timeline of balancing process so user knows which step they are on
- Allow users to export results locally to mobile device
- Allow sharing of results via email
Designing the App
There are other modules within CWa that include similar layouts, as well as sharing assets and patterns from the design system. The acceptance criteria was a constantly evolving challenge, which involved adding features that were recommended from the product owners.
This screen shows where the reports saved at the end of each balancing workflow reside so that the technician can access them later. It also allows them to move reports between folders and share them with other technicians via email.
A CWCVT device is what allows a technician to connect to the HVAC system. Once plugged in, the app will show all available devices on the network.
Once the autocalibration process is complete, the airflow test can then occur, generating a report for the technician to save for later use.
What I learned:
Going into this project, I had absolutely no idea what airflow balancing was, and had never even heard of it. Thankfully, my project manager was amazing at explaining the background and the majority of the workflow.
I also learned how complicated things can become once more and more features are added, especially when adding the “unhappy” paths that a user may run into while using the app.
This was probably one of my favorite projects I worked on, and the most in depth. Even though there were requirements constantly being added, there was rarely a need for too many questions to ask because of the thoroughness of my product owner in her explanations in team meetings.
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