More than ever, existing buildings are the key to future efficiency gains. And yet, better equipment isn’t everything. The knowledge and behaviors of both occupants and operations staff play critical roles, perhaps greater than you realize. An integrated team approach, smart training, and the Hawthorne Effect are but three factors contributing to your next retrofit’s ultimate fate.
Environmental factors, IAQ-related codes and standards, even architectural building materials … a lot of factors combine to create a moving target for designers of good humidification systems. That’s not even considering the potential hiccups lurking in the construction process or resulting from an inattentive project team member. From the humidity basics to equipment placement to post-occupancy maintenance that can thwart lawsuits, pursue the path to appropriate humidity and minimal risk.
While mechanical energy codes may lag relative to the efficiency targets of some other codes , the expansion of VRF into a wider range of equipment makes it easier than ever to exceed expectations. Perhaps more importantly, its incorporation into heat pumps, dehu-midifiers, compressors, and more represents more flexibility in delivering an effective retrofit without a total system overhaul.
In theory, a BAS provides all of the hardware and software required to analyze and operate all functions within a building. In reality, though, what most of these systems do best is control the HVAC system.
Leaning on experience and data from various K-12 cities and projects, the author pursues some less conventional design approaches. They may revolve around radiant heating and/or cooling, but depending on school size and other factors, the smart use of heat recovery, DOAS, and improved central plants could also put a project on the HVAC honor roll.