When the Pina Bausch dance company came to the University of California (UC) Berkeley for a weekend of live performances presented by Cal Performances in December 2011, the theater’s production team faced an unusual challenge. The show incorporated a vintage 1940 slide projector being shipped from Germany for use in the Zellerbach Hall auditorium, and Doug Warrick, general manager of Cal Performances, had to find a way to ensure that noise and heat buildup from the projector would not ruin the performance or, worse yet, create a fire hazard in the theater.
A learning environment adds extra meaning to the risks of “run to fail” mode, which can have the same effect on the budget as it does on the equipment. Covering everything from specification to installation and operation, schools need a permanent plan on hand for the moment when temporary HVAC becomes necessary.
School districts have known for quite some time that temporary equipment can assist in passing the tests of renovations or the pop quizzes of unexpected equipment failure. The lesser-known lesson is that having the plan in place can save significant time and money on top of the equipment’s basic benefits.
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.