Unfortunately, the potential threats to building occupants are varied and increasing. To adapt properly, let’s look at the culture change needed in the design process. Commissioning, recommissioning, and preventive maintenance are further pieces of a strategy to assure ongoing safety.
Will my smoke control system work properly during a fire? That is the question all building owners/operators should ask themselves. Smoke control systems are unique in that they often sit dormant (sometimes for years) and problems that can affect their operation may not be identified until it is too late. To ensure the right answer when you need it, catch up on device monitoring, commissioning, and why the self-test concept has received a bad rap.
When the City of Tallahassee and Leon County collaborated on a consolidated public safety complex to deal with local emergencies, the stakes were high and the need for robust yet adaptable HVAC was, too. Another collaboration within the design — chilled beams and pump technology — represented a key component of the mechanical system as it stands ready for severe swings in occupancy and weather alike.
The assortment of standards, variety of technologies, and evolving weather patterns don’t make it simple. However, humidification and dehumidification strategies that suit the facility’s location and address some spaces’ specialized demands are worth the effort.
The codes and standards aren’t what they used to be when it comes to ventilation requirements. It might also be time to reconsider real-life occupancies with regard to design demands. Is there room to tighten up and boost efficiencies while maintaining adequate airflows?
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.