Consulting Specifying Engineer March 2014-CSE : Page-11

Figure 2: The Cayman Islands Ministry of Education commissioned CannonDesign to update its outdated school campuses with a range of educational, athletic, and multipurpose facilities to bring them into the new century. Courtesy: CannonDesign, James Steinkamp, photographer is the new Muriel Williams Battle High School in Columbia, Mo. This 301,500-sq-ft high school will serve 1,850 students in grades 9 through 12. It will allow the district’s two existing high schools that currently serve grades 10 through 12 to include 9th grade students. The design encompasses many sustainable features, including a ground-source heat pump system. CSE: What unique HVAC require-ments do K-12 school structures have that you wouldn’t encounter on other structures? Hammelman: The most unique HVAC requirement of a K-12 school is the vari-ety of uses encountered throughout the building—engineers need to account for an auditorium, performance spaces, offices, classrooms, gymnasiums, cafete-ria spaces, kitchens, and possibly even a natatorium. These diverse needs in multiple spaces are not typically found in many other building types. Roy: Generally, K-12 schools have higher ventilation rates compared to “small-hall” university classrooms since the student population is typically high-er. This higher ventilation rate offers the designer greater challenges, but also greater opportunities, to come up with Essi Najafi Principal Global Engineering Solutions Rockville, Md. efficient design solutions. Decoupling the ventilation system from the comfort conditioning system can offer a more effi-cient system, but typically at a higher first cost as there are duplicate systems and more complex controls strategies. Najafi: The one requirement that stands out is the fact that schools operate for a portion of the year while during the sum-mer months they remain dormant or with minimal use. In a similar way, the daily operation of the school also undergoes drastic changes and sifting of HVAC loads. Classrooms may be fully occupied or not during lunch or gym events, while cafeteria and gym spaces have the reverse occupancy characteristics. This opera-tional uniqueness requires a design that allows for quick sifts of heating/cooling allocation without oversizing the system or the central plant. Hedman: One area that differs from other building types is the function of rooms such as a gymnasium and the multi-functional uses. A gymnasium can fluctuate in occupancy from 20 to 40 students during a normal school day, to 800 to 1,000 occupants during a game or school event. As an engineer, close attention must be made in designing and selecting the appropriate systems that can satisfy both the cooling and ventilation loads with such a diverse space. Rodney V. Oathout, PE, CEM, LEED AP Regional engineer-ing leader/principal DLR Group Overland Park, Kan. Oathout: One of the biggest differences in HVAC design between K-12 facilities and other building types is the occupant density tends to be much greater and more variable in K-12 facilities. A suc-cessful HVAC system design for a K-12 facility must be able to react to these considerations and continue to provide a high-quality indoor environment. CSE: How have the characteris-tics K-12 school projects changed in recent years, and what should engi-neers expect to see in the near future? Jefferson: We are seeing a lot more specialized curricula going into school programs, particularly science, technol-ogy, engineering, and math (STEM) pro-grams. A huge focus of school districts now is “21st century learning.” Of course, we have to work with them to understand what that concept means to them and our architectural partners, because it can vary dramatically. Oathout: The diversity of spaces and expectation for high-quality indoor envi-ronments continue to be top priority when designing modern K-12 facilities. The evolution to student focused instructional methods will expand the need for flexible use spaces requiring systems to be more robust to achieve these requirements. Sunondo Roy, PE, LEED AP BD+C Vice president CCJM Engineers Chicago Consulting-Specifying Engineer • MARCH 2014 11

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