Traknyak is a senior project manager for Smith Seckman Reid, a leading engineering design and facility consulting firm with 420 employees in nine offices across the U.S. He has 20 years of engineering and construction experience with expertise in laboratory controls, HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, controls and commissioning for various types of facilities, including health care, research, commercial, education, and energy.
One technology ripe for reducing ach in labs is air monitoring and ventilation control. The idea is to reduce ach by monitoring the air in the laboratory with a suite of multiple sensors, and then provide higher ach only when needed. Demand control ventilation has caught on in other applications, and as one example illustrates, applying it to a lab space can result in ballooning savings.
With universities more frequently offering up their research capabilities to outside companies as a revenue stream, you can be sure of one thing: What a lab works on today is probably not what the scientists will be working on in a couple of years. It might not even be the same next month. Will the laboratory be up to the design demands of its new research focus? Only if the designer and project team think ahead, in system-wide terms, from the beginning.
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.