As noted in last month’s column, accessibility
to mechanical, electrical, and control system components is critical for
sustainable systems operation. However, the design and construction industry is
sorely lacking when it comes to agreeing on what appropriate accessibility
means. In order to make a meaningful difference in how systems are delivered to
owners/operators, it is critical to define measurable accessibility acceptance
criteria early in the design phase and allow the commissioning professional to
shepherd that criteria through the design, construction, and acceptance phases.
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.