College Planning & Management

FEB 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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Facilities PHOTOS © CHARLIE RIBBENS C AMPUS SPACES Quiet in the Lab Armstrong Atlantic State University's lab facility gets high marks for a VAV remedy, which provided much-needed quiet and signifcant energy savings. BY DAN VAST YAN F IXING AN OLD PROBLEM typically brings a measure of satisfaction. Fixing one that's not "old" and has expensively festered from the beginning, while also making a nuisance of itself, adds new facets to the challenge. Ultimately, the solution to a university's vexing HVAC problem has won accolades from school administrators, students, faculty, and maintenance staff alike. Inside Armstrong Atlantic State University's (AASU) two-story, 126,000-sq.ft. Science Center in Savannah, GA, is a network of 36 laboratories, classrooms, and offices. After construction wrapped up in 2001, the building's VAV (variable air volume) exhaust and HVAC equipment showed its true colors. The ambient noise 38 level in the laboratories was 72 dBa, and the system was anything but VAV. Codes and standards intended to protect an individual's health and safety inside science and research laboratories require frequent air changes and constant negative pressure. These standards apply 24 hours a day, including holidays, nights, and weekends. The Science Center's 78 fume hoods ran constantly, moving 800 CFM each — whether the laboratory fume hoods were in use or not. A functional and controlled exhaust system can modulate to a lower volume when the room is unoccupied, while still providing safety. But the system at the Science Center ran full-tilt around the clock. The building quickly became COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / FEBRUARY 2013 the school's loudest and most expensive energy burden. "Holding classes with high ambient noise levels became a very big problem," says David Faircloth, director of plant operation at the 6,000-student university. "And we quickly felt the fiscal strain of maintaining 10 ACH (air changes per hour) in the building at all times. In terms of installed equipment, the building represents 25 percent of the campus' entire capacity. But in terms of energy consumption, it accounted for 40 percent of use." Operating costs aside, school managers struggled for five years in their attempts to quiet the complaints about classroom noise. That is, until an experimental retrofit was born. WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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