Zone Control – The Value-Engineered Option to DDC

Forced air zoning is no longer a niche market, but plays a major part in energy conservation and improved comfort in the workplace and home.  HVAC control comes in many different configurations depending on the size and complexity of the application. Commercial modulating zone control systems and direct digital controls (DDC) are two options for zoning commercial buildings. 


DDC can add more flexibility to an HVAC system by allowing an operator to control and adjust a system from a local or remote computer, as well as having system alarming capabilities. The operator can change set points for conditions such as air and water temperature and time schedules.  This flexibility and control comes with an added cost of additional sensors, wires, transmitters, work stations, labor and other components of DDC.  Commissioning DDC systems often require factory-trained staff that adds additional costs to the project. 


On the other hand, commercial modulating zone control systems such as Jackson Systems Z-2000, 20 zone, fully modulating system, can be a great value- engineered option to DDC controls.  The basic principle of operation for a modulating zone control system is to allow a single HVAC system to be controlled by multiple thermostats strategically placed in areas called zones.  The conditioned air entering each zone is controlled by a zone damper located in a main supply trunk line or multiple dampers located in branch runs.  The operation of the zone thermostats and zone dampers are controlled by a zone panel which provides the proper logic to energize the HVAC system in the proper mode of operation as well as controlling the zone damper position based on each zone thermostat’s demand for heating, cooling or ventilation.  Modulating zone control systems do not require the additional sensors, wires, work stations and labor that a DDC system requires, thus lowering the initial capital expenditure and continued maintenance expenses.  Typically modulating zone systems do not require a laptop to setup up, so specialized factory training is not needed. 


The incredible initial cost savings in material and labor that a modulating zone control system has over a DDC system should be considered when engineering any HVAC project.  If you would like more information regarding Jackson Systems Z-2000, 20 zone, fully modulating zoning system please email or call us at 1-888-652-9663 and ask to speak with someone in inside sales.


By Mike Holscher

Inside Sales Engineer

Jackson Systems, LLC

Updated: June 9, 2009 — 8:27 am

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