Air monitoring issues when commissioning a new facility

One of the most critical steps facility managers can take when seeking to understand air-monitoring in a new facility is committing to a rigorous commissioning process.

05/07/2013


Courtesy: Cannon DesignOne of the most critical steps facility managers can take when seeking to understand air-monitoring in a new facility is committing to a rigorous commissioning process. Proper commissioning can help determine appropriate requirements for air monitoring during the design review phase. Later in the commissioning process, comprehensive functional performance testing of building systems prior to occupancy confirms design and construction components that impact indoor air quality are properly installed and operating.

Using commissioning to help plan ongoing air monitoring helps maintain strong conditions—the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has found 52% of the primary sources of indoor air quality problems are related to inadequate ventilation. Delivering a healthy environment, serviceable systems, and energy efficient operation are the overriding goals of the commissioning process and air monitoring is an important tool to achieve these goals.

Commissioning focuses on two key aspects of air-monitoring: the air quantity and the air quality.

Quantity

One of the prerequisites in commissioning before final functional testing can begin is to have a complete air balancing performed on all HVAC and air-delivery systems. Air balancing does the following.

-- It confirms adequate air is provided in all areas of a facility to achieve the design intent.
-- It helps uncover and resolve issues before occupancy, such as airflow restrictions or leakage.
-- It improves energy efficiency and functionality by uncovering unintended air distribution.

After initial duct pressure testing and air balancing is complete, it is important to continue monitoring the airflow to verify initial performances you are maintained. This is imperative in critical areas where pressure relationships between zones must be maintained like laboratories, isolation rooms, and vivarium spaces. During the commissioning process, the commissioning authority verifies those pressure relationships are maintained regardless of the HVAC system’s operating mode, to provide a safe and healthy environment. The level of complexity can increase if different areas have different heating and cooling requirements, heat generation by specialized apparatuses, exhaust requirements, and pressurization needs. A holistic and complete approach studying the interrelationships between all of these different components is critical for a complete commissioning process.

Quality

After the design team determines the required air quality and conducts a thorough review of reference standards, the design phase commissioning review will confirm this level is achieved in an efficient manner. A calculated fixed-air replacement rate might prove energy wasteful and does not guarantee appropriate levels of fresh air. Air monitoring can control the rate of fresh air intake of a building dynamically based on actual need.

Air monitoring becomes even more paramount when considering spaces that may see a varying level of occupancy and use. While a design may provide the necessary level of ventilation at a worst case allowable use, this use may never or rarely occur. Air monitoring, and a commissioned integration with the building automation system, allows the building systems to cycle down when spaces are not used at the maximum design capacity.

Air monitoring can also help control pollutant levels in the building derived from an outdoor source. For example, detection of a pollutant such as carbon monoxide from idling vehicles from an adjacent parking garage can engage an HVAC control sequence that would mitigate this situation and/or send an alarm to appropriate personnel that can resolve the condition. Proper system reaction and alarm functionality are verified during the commissioning process.

With the additional complexity and integration of different systems (e.g. lighting, HVAC, hood operation, load shedding), buildings are becoming more “intelligent” as long as building systems are working as intended and communicating with one another as necessary. Air monitoring is a system that allows a laboratory to function in an efficient and reliable manner while achieving air quality requirements for the stated purpose. Confirming design intent during turnover and operation is the reason commissioning is essential for animal laboratories so that they achieve the high level of performance that is required.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me