Whether renovation or new construction, it’s the stuff behind the walls and in the ceilings that gives a building life and renders it habitable. The goal of creating comfortable, safe and energy-efficient administrative, academic and student life environments on university and college campuses is a common one.
Once building codes and local ordinances have been addressed during the design process, campus officials are charged with selecting system options. Decisions for HVAC and lighting choices will affect function, maintenance and utility costs long after the facility is occupied. It begs the question: What tools are at your disposal for making the right decision when it counts the most?
There are several that can be effectively employed during schematic design, including:
Mock-up. A full-scale mock-up of an HVAC or lighting option lets owners observe how a system performs within its intended environment and promotes a confident decision. While effective, time and expense must be weighed against project cost before initiating a mock-up.
Life cycle cost analysis. This exercise addresses budget concerns by assessing first cost versus operating costs. The LCCA can be basic or detailed, depending on the owner’s needs. Often a simple payback comparison is adequate. Alternatively, a current value assessment over a pre-determined time period may be used.
Project tours. A great way to understand how a system works and performs is to see it in action. When the pros and cons of different systems are being discussed, request tours of facilities where these systems are up and running and solicit the owner’s or building manager’s opinion about the system.
The best decision is an informed one. Work with your design team to get all the facts you need to make it.
Article written by Tami Knopp, PE, LEED AP and Dorothy J. Verdon, CPSM