A Report Card for Raised Floors
The development of raised-floor systems for commercial office environments has led to the creation of new systems for delivering conditioned air, power, data and telecommunications infrastructure. Their use has hardly been limited to office buildings, however. The use of one such system for the interim Student Services Center at San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif., offers the same benefits and addresses the design challenges of converting a parking garage into a functional office environment.
In this case, the raised floor offers the following advantages:
Eliminating attachments. Using a raised floor eliminates almost all attachments to the garage’s post-tensioned slab. Required overhead attachments include limited supply ductwork in areas without an underfloor system, some limited exhaust and return ductwork, plumbing vents and fire-sprinkler piping.
Optimizing indoor-air quality. The raised-floor system offers the best indoor-air quality possible by maximizing ventilation effectiveness.
Minimizing energy use. Energy effi-ciency is maximized by allowing for increased supply-air temperatures. The higher supply-air temperature result in a significant increase in the number of hours of free cooling-where outside-air temperatures are at or below supply-air temperature-as well as reducing the power consumption of the air-cooled systems.
Improving cabling options. Raised floors offer an inexpensive means for distributing extensive data and telecommunications infrastructure without the use of power poles or false columns.
Solving structural needs. The raised-floor system provides a level surface for office use without modifying the garage-floor slab. This allows for a relatively easy process of restoring the garage when the interim facility is no longer needed. Best of all, the raised floor can be reused in another location in the event of temporary occupancy of the facility.