The Better Buildings Alliance, an initiative of the United States Department of Energy (DOE), is designed to improve the efficiency of commercial and industrial buildings in the U.S. by driving leadership in energy innovation.
Drywall is often misperceived as a building material that does not demand the skillful manipulation of a traditional construction material. However, anyone who has worked with drywall knows the product is not so cooperative.
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.
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.
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?
As consulting engineers continually specify more sustainable HVAC technologies, they must ensure their designs comply with a variety of standards. Of course, when possible, it is even better to go far beyond those baseline requirements. In this respect, the University of Findlay’s $11 million Davis Building is a role model for future commercial mechanical technology.