Affordable solutions available for better school acoustics

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Experts believe as many as one-third of all school students miss up to 33 percent of the oral communication that occurs in the classroom. (M. Nixon’s 2002 article, “Acoustical Standards Begin to Reverberate: Controlling Noise within School Facilities,” was posted on the web at School Construction News Online).

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Ensuring effective custom HVAC assemblies

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As many designers can attest, selecting the most appropriate HVAC system involves more than an off-the-shelf purchase. Designing a mechanical system for maximum energy efficiency, reliability, serviceability, and sustainability—while meeting the varying usage needs of the customer—requires broad expertise and a thorough understanding of key considerations in system design.

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Pairing passive elements for a high-performance pavilion

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Located in Fort Collins, Colorado State University’s (CSU’s) Pavilion transcends physical bounds to teach students sustainability through materials, advanced systems, and programmatic features. Showcasing unique passive technologies, its katabatic cooling tower and its Trombe parapet wall are a dynamic duo making this green structure truly innovative.

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Water-loop heat pumps and net-zero

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Designing net-zero-energy buildings for new construction or renovation presents many challenges. It requires analyzing the unique energy use of the entire facility and then designing a system that can reduce the net-energy footprint without sacrificing functionality or comfort. As energy consumption is reduced, onsite renewable energy plays a larger role in efforts to reach the goal of net-zero energy. Water-source heat pumps (WSHPs) can be important in this respect.

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Controlling mechanical system noise

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A typical urban and suburban environment has numerous sources contributing to the exterior ambient noise. Among these are the environmental sounds from a building’s heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment. How can design professionals help mitigate the distraction caused by HVAC?

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