Educational experience: HVAC systems and energy efficiency in K-12 schools

Engineering work on K-12 schools is complex—and not just because of dwindling school budgets. The facilities must meet a broad range of exacting standards coming from officials and state regulatory bodies, in addition to meeting energy efficiency standards. HVAC, energy efficiency, and sustainability are discussed in this Q+A.

03/27/2013


Robert J. Linder, PE, LEED AP, Senior Project Manager, Karges-Faulconbridge Inc., St. Paul, Minn.Robert N. Roop, CPD, LEED AP, Principal, Peter Basso Associates, Inc., Troy, Mich.Abbas Shirian, PE, CGD, LEED AP, Principal-in-Charge, Lead Mechanical Engineer, Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers, Albuquerque, N.M.

Participants


CSE: Energy efficiency and sustainability are often the No. 1 request from building owners during new building design. What is your experience in this area?

Engineers with Bridgers & Paxton executed several systems at the V. Sue Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, N.M. The new 400,000-sq-ft building called for U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver Certification; site features include a ground-coupled heat-Roop: Energy efficiency and sustainability are the two hottest topics in the K-12 market today. Many districts in our area are filled with antiquated buildings using technology developed in the early part of the last century. There is very little else from that time period still in use, and even less still being applied in new construction. Since these districts see how inefficient their facilities are, and are faced with shrinking O&M budgets, now more than ever we are asked to consider efficiency and sustainability in not only new construction but also renovation projects. Also, since no one building type has a longer service life historically than K-12 schools, these buildings are optimally suited to take advantage of the return on investment of more efficient, more sustainable, longer life products and systems.

Shirian: Many school districts have mandates that new buildings and major renovations be LEED certified or Energy Star rated, but O&M departments commonly resist the use of systems and equipment that are new or increase maintenance requirements. Consequently, we focus on simple and reliable sustainability concepts such as energy-efficient lighting, daylighting controls, occupancy sensors, low water use plumbing fixtures, high seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) equipment, and controls to allow shutting down spaces that are not in service.

CSE: What unique HVAC requirements do K-12 school structures have that you wouldn’t encounter on other structures?

Shirian: Personnel on site at K-12 schools commonly have a very limited understanding of mechanical and control systems, so we try to design systems tailored to the capabilities of the staff on site. Larger school districts commonly have centralized maintenance staffs with greater technical skills, but they can get overwhelmed performing seasonal changeover. We try to use systems that minimize the maintenance required for seasonal changeover.

Roop: Apart from the unique characteristics of school buildings when compared to other building types, which makes them unique enough, perhaps the biggest challenges are in the lower elementary spaces. Preschool and kindergarten children spend a great deal of time on the floor and so space conditioning starts at the floor level there, unlike the traditional occupied zone of office buildings or other occupancies.

CSE: What indoor air quality (IAQ) challenges have you recently overcome?

Roop: We designed new and renovated facilities for an owner with an IAQ program requiring outside air quantities 30% above those required by code and ASHRAE. To minimize the impact of this increased outside air load on the heating and cooling plants, we supplied a measured quantity of outside air to each space though a variable volume air terminal unit coupled with space CO2 sensors. This demand control ventilation strategy increased the outside air quantity from the code minimum only when space CO2 levels rose above a fixed offset quantity from the levels found in outside air.

Shirian: For conventional HVAC systems, such as VAVs serving multiple zones, we specify air handling system with IAQ dampers and COe sensors. For decentralized HVAC systems like heat pumps and/or fan coil unit systems, a separate dedicated outside air system (DOAS) may be the only reliable method of meeting ASHRAE Standard 62. It is also the simplest method.            



RICHARD , NC, United States, 04/02/13 08:12 AM:

Gentlemen,
I don't know if you have a concrete floor in the picture to the right or not. Had you changed your design to a raised access floor of at least 12 inches (you could have run the wire system in any fashion required. But more than that you could have used UFAD and could have been able to move the diffusers within any one sq ft on the entire floor and have a diffusers in each workstation, thereby offering complete comfort, where the studentss could adjust the air and it movement to "how they fell comfort and still have improved ventilation air (as much as 30%), yet provided excelent supply air to each and every student. It appears in the photograph and the placement of diffusers in the wall you have more than enough space to install a raised access floor. Perhaps you will give UFAD a chance on your next prodject.
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...
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
Safety standards and electrical test instruments; Product of the Year winners; Easy and safe electrical design
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation modernization; Predictive analytics enable open connectivity; System integration success; Automation turns home brewer into brew house
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

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.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
Compressed air plays a vital role in most manufacturing plants, and availability of compressed air is crucial to a wide variety of operations.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me