What does N plus 1 in HVAC mean?

In N + 1 the "N" is the nominal amount of cooling/heating units required in a building. The "+ 1" refers to an additional HVAC unit as a redundant backup to all others.

Example: A calculation is performed to decide the amount in tons that a building requires. The result is 12 tones. To achieve this the over does not want to use one 12-ton unit, but rather three 4-ton units of four 3-ton units. The N + 1 requirement would give the building contractor the option to put four 4-ton units of five 4-ton units to provide a redundant unit.

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