Designing labs, research buildings: HVAC systems

Labs and research facilities house sensitive equipment and must maintain very rigid standards. Ventilation, air quality, and HVAC systems are discussed here.

05/28/2013


Nedzib Biberic, PE, LEED BD+C, Mechanical Engineer, PAE Consulting Engineers, Portland, Ore. Courtesy: PAE Consulting EngineersMichael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Member/Owner, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Powell, Ohio. Courtesy: Metro CD EngineeringDavid S. Crutchfield, PE, LEED AP, Division Manager, RMF Engineering, Baltimore. Courtesy: RMF EngineeringDave Linamen, PE, LEED AP, CEM, Vice President, Stantec, Edmonton, Alberta. Courtesy: StantecJay Ramirez, Senior Vice President, ESD Global, Chicago. Courtesy: ESD Global

Participants:

Nedzib Biberic, PE, LEED BD+C, Mechanical Engineer, PAE Consulting Engineers, Portland, Ore. 

Michael Chow, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C, Member/Owner, Metro CD Engineering LLC, Powell, Ohio 

David S. Crutchfield, PE, LEED AP, Division Manager, RMF Engineering, Baltimore

Dave Linamen, PE, LEED AP, CEM, Vice President, Stantec, Edmonton, Alberta

Jay Ramirez, Senior Vice President, ESD Global, Chicago   


CSE: What unique requirements do laboratory HVAC systems have that you wouldn’t encounter on other structures?

Biberic: The following:

  • Handling of harmful chemicals.
  • Requirements to maintain building spaces at different pressure with respect to each other
  • Additional control systems
  • Location of laboratory exhaust system (minimum equipment separation, plume height, recirculation of lab exhaust)
  • Energy hog
  • Redundancy of the equipment; more equipment on e-power
  • Unique code and standard requirements need to be followed that some owners or even local code officials may not be very familiar with (not the same as the last project they just did).

Linamen: The primary difference with regard to HVAC is the increased requirement for makeup and exhaust air. Also, reheat energy. These requirements cascade into larger central heating and cooling requirements, as well as into increased sizes for fan systems and ductwork.

Crutchfield: The obvious is the need for single pass air, which is often confused as 100% outside air. We’ve seen that certain lab types lend themselves to single pass air that is not necessarily 100% outside air. Excess air from non-lab spaces is used to offset some of the outside makeup air and routed through labs. It is not recirculated, but rather a portion of the air to the labs is made up of return air from spaces such as offices that may have an excess of supply air. 

CSE: Test facilities often dictate that a laboratory’s ventilation system contain advanced capabilities to preserve integrity of samples and keep a stable environment. How do you maintain this delicate balance?

Biberic: There are two ways: Sizing the HVAC system based on a clear understanding of the current, and by providing dedicated HVAC systems for building areas with significantly different load profiles or environment requirements; humidity, level of filtration, and tight temperature control maybe required only in few building areas, and there is no need to design the entire building system with this options. 

CSE: When working in labs, how has ASHRAE Standard 62.1, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, helped guide you? What challenging projects have you worked on?

Linamen: Actually, the ASHRAE ventilation standard does not provide much guidance in the design of HVAC air systems for labs. If we follow the letter of the standard, the requirement for ventilation in a science lab is approximately 2.5 ACH. There are a number of other codes, standards, and guidelines that take precedent.

Biberic: We referred to ASHRAE Standard 62.1 for prescriptive requirements on minimum separation between different types of building exhausts and minimum ventilation requirements in different general building areas. In the Whitworth Science Building, the same laboratories are used as both teaching and research spaces, each having significant differences in airflow requirements depending on the occupancy. We used the AIRCUITY monitoring system to reduce airflow rates when space air quality allows it.

CSE: Describe a challenging indoor air quality system you worked on recently. What were the challenges and solutions?

Crutchfield: We did another smoke lab where there was no place to exhaust the smoke room. We provided a special air filtration system that filters the smoke within the room. It was an interesting research project for us to design a system that will properly filter cigarette smoke.

Linamen: This isn’t necessarily related to IAQ, but we have developed an evolution of designs to eliminate snow from outdoor air intakes for lab buildings and other buildings where high percentages of outdoor air must be brought in through intakes in winter. The design involves bringing the snow in from the side of a plenum or down into an areaway, and then changing the direction of the airflow so that the last direction into the intake is vertically up. We have found that the change in direction in the upward vertical direction causes the snow to drop out. This saves saturating the filters in the air handling systems with snow in a driving snow storm. No additional energy is used to melt the snow in the intake. 



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 Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
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.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

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.