In a recent article featured in Consulting-Specifying Engineer AABC Members, Brian Venn, TBE, CxA, Mechanical Testing, Inc., Jeremy Johnson, TBE, CxA, American Testing Inc., and Thomas Prevish, Ph. D., PE, CEM, NorthWest Engineering Service Inc., gives insight on creating better HVAC systems in old laboratories and university buildings.
As the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry continues to evolve, there are more opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of commercial buildings that consume a substantial amount of energy.
A university teaching lab is a great example of a building that relies on complex HVAC design and installation to operate effectively and efficiently. There continues to be a need and desire for university science and lab buildings, both for new construction and existing facility upgrades. As some of these existing buildings approach 30 years or older, the new challenge facing the industry is to properly upgrade the HVAC critical components, such as direct digital controls, air terminals, air handling units (AHUs), energy factors, pumps and chillers.
Starting with the infrastructure components, many of these buildings are designed with energy recovery wheels, coils and night or occupancy setbacks, all to reduce the energy costs while still meeting the needs and expectations for a laboratory building. When it comes to determining the current performance of the existing infrastructure, using a testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) firm that can help assess the current conditions is a must.