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.
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.
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.