The readers weigh in. In my December 2012 column, I solicited reader feedback regarding substantial completion and the trend of owners accepting buildings as substantially complete when the mechanical and electrical systems are not complete, fully integrated, and functioning properly.
How many energy-efficient or certified buildings are not living up to the label? Very, very many, if this Ohio commissioning/auditing firm’s experience is close to typical. They report on common weaknesses in efficiency strategies and on real-life patterns of upgrades gone wrong across an array of equipment types. While flaws in well-intentioned processes remain, a more careful investment of human energy can still yield the desired reduction in building energy.
The author's firm recently explored three options for use in buildings that are “user-friendly” when dealing with the highly variable load demands of multi-tenant occupancies, often requiring simultaneous space heating and cooling requirements. Read on to see what they found out about performance and life-cycle cost for their client.
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.