Lab Design

The unique hvac needs of laboratories can pose problems for design engineers, architects,and owners who have experience mainly in typical commercial buildings.

The ASHRAE Laboratory Design Guide provides owners, designers, contractors and operators with information on the requirements for achieving high quality laboratory facilities. The design guide can be used for the design, troubleshooting, and operation of laboratory facilities or as a comprehensive reference. "Due to the potential health and safety problems, it is important to provide the hvacr community with a design guide to detail the specific problems and opportunities presented by laboratory systems," co-author Chad Dorgan said.

Examples of hvac design issues specific to laboratories include additional codes and standards, health risks, more complicated systems and varying system conditions, according to Dorgan.

Growth in technology has led to demands on both industrial and university research facilities. Increasing concerns about worker safety and the cost of providing a safe environment have expanded the technology of designing laboratories, he said.

The guide progresses from project inception through operations and includes chapters on laboratory planning, the design process, exhaust hoods, primary air systems, process cooling, air treatment, exhaust stack design, energy recovery, controls, airflow patterns and air balance, operation and maintenance, the laboratory commissioning process, hvac system economics, and microbiological and biomedical laboratories.

GSHP Systems Design

Design and installation of ground-source heat pump (GSHP) systems are straightforward engineering exercises. The key is site characterization to select the optimum heat exchanger for the building and site.

"Understanding a little about local geology and about the needs and knowledge of the driller will help the design engineer design the best heat exchanger for the site," author Harvey Sachs said.

A book from ASHRAE helps designers understand the driller's tools and techniques and the ground they penetrate. Geology and Drilling Methods for Ground-Source Heat Pump Installations: An Introduction for Engineers contains an introduction to geology, hydrogeology, soil development and other conditions that impact feasibility and economics of GSHP system installation.

Ground-source heat pump systems are being increasingly used for commercial hvac systems, according to Sachs. "Low operating and maintenance costs mean that these systems generally have attractive life-cycle costs," he said.