Commercial Buildings; Optimize HVAC Layouts Adhering To Codes & Standards
MEP engineers and architects involved in commercial construction constantly encounter new challenges in HVAC layout optimization from energy consumption viewpoint. A major chunk of energy consumption is accounted for HVAC systems in commercial buildings since it is operational all through the day; and sometimes at night as well in case of offices & hospitals etc. More or less, every building construction project harms environment and the construction waste pollutes air and soil.
Alongside achieving energy efficiency, providing comfort is an ongoing task for MEP engineers and architects as they need to coordinate their designs with high-performance buildings. Efforts to reduce energy consumption have led to emergence of energy codes and standards to achieve minimum possible energy requirements in new building construction projects & for renovation or refurbishment of existing facilities. Energy conservation codes and standards empower MEP engineers to develop and deploy components that are efficient in designs and aligned with latest smart technologies.
Benefits of adopting standards codes and guidelines
For one thing, standards and codes establish minimum requirement for safety and assures quality. By adhering to standard guidelines, necessity of frequent maintenance is essentially removed owing to standard equipment usage. With set standards, planning of layout for MEP contractors become easy, which is usually a cumbersome task in commercial construction projects.
Efficient layout planning in turn empowers MEP contractors to meet certain level of quality in installation. When the entire layout is planned as per codes and standards, it ensures uniformity across the construction project and causes ease in work for O&M teams for post installation works.
In addition to ease for AEC professionals, there are takeaways for facility owners and individual stakeholders too when codes and guidelines for HVAC layout are adhered to. Meeting minimum energy consumption for operating the facility exempts them from taxes resulting in monetary benefits.
Energy Efficiency Programs
To encourage the EPC firms, general contractors and facility owners for adopting the energy consumption codes and standards; state and federal governments have established several programs that give them a range of benefits. USGBC’s rating system of LEED for buildings abiding guidelines brings broader perspective to contractors than just energy efficient buildings.
For energy incentive programs, there is a variety of funding available in almost every state to encourage the initiative and run it across the world. Say for example in New York alone, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is the administrator of all energy programs in the state and it offers almost about 5-10 different options for incentives as stated by Federal Energy Management Programs (FEMP) in terms of monetary benefits and energy audits under energy management program.
Case in point
For planning efficient design and layout of HVAC, engineers are using BIM tools and eQuest software for productive output. We, at TrueCADD, have prepared the energy model solutions for HVAC system for a hospital construction project in Dubai. CAD drawings were shared by the client in order to generate 3D model for energy modeling. The project team prepared the model and energy consumption report as per ASHRAE 90.1-2007 standards with suggestions for energy conservation. With BIM enabled energy analysis of the facility, the client was able to reduce 14% over all energy consumption of the building.
This is an explicit example of how technology can play its role in generating model solutions that abides all the codes and standards set by governing bodies. Thus, using codes and standards clubbed with software technology, one can have safety, productivity, fiscal benefits and avail other specialized benefits by the government.