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 2013 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...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

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.