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It's not easy being green! - Kermit T. Frog   Home Building A Green School 10 Steps toward Sustainability Mechanical and Ventilation

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EnergyPlus is a new generation building energy simulation program designed for modeling buildings with associated heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation flow. Energy plus builds on the most popular features and capabilities of BLAST and DOE-2 and includes many advanced and innovative simulation capabilities.

  • HVAC
    Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) accounts for 50 to 60 percent of the energy used in school. This represents an opportunity for energy savings by specifying efficient technologies and design concepts. Using a “whole building” approach – looking at how all the building’s elements work together – the design team can factor in energy-saving choices that reduce heating and cooling loads and will downsize the HVAC system needed. Choosing not to over-design the HVAC system results in a better running system, with both reduced initial equipment costs and long-term operating costs.
    HVAC systems have a significant effect on the health, comfort, productivity, and academic performance of students. A study by the US General Accounting Office found that half of the more than 90,000 public schools in the country are facing noise control problems, lack of adequate ventilation, poor indoor air quality, comfort issues, and below-standard lighting conditions. A 1999 US Department of Education study found that 26% of the country’s schools had unsatisfactory levels of fresh air. Most of these issues are directly or indirectly linked to HVAC system design and operation, and can be corrected by improved mechanical and ventilation system design.
  • Refrigerant Management
    All refrigerants have environmental impact. Buildings undergoing major renovations must eliminate CFC refrigerants as they have high impact in causing ozone depletion and cause global warming. Investigate chillers that have lowest environmental impact.
  • Integration
    Best practices in HVAC design considers all the interrelated building systems while addressing indoor air quality, energy consumption, and environmental benefits. Optimizing systems to gain these benefits requires that the mechanical system designer and architect address issues early in the schematic design phase and continually revise subsequent decisions throughout the remaining design process. Moisture control is an essential tool in providing comfortable spaces. It can be offered efficiently without overcooling spaces. It is also importantgn to implement commissioning processes and carry out routine preventative maintenance programs.
  • Chemical Exposure
    Limiting building pollutants starts with the design phase. Careful choice and handling of materials will prevent introduction of harmful VOCs, mold, and other toxins. Thoughtful building design will also address pollutants from air intake systems and those carried into the building via other entries.
  • Acoustical Performance
    Students need to hear their teachers to be able to learn. Unfortunately mechanical systems and building design add undesired background noise to classrooms. This can be avoided with appropriate finishes, and attention to building and system design.
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