Manufacturing and industrial building HVAC, plumbing trends
Several new and retrofit manufacturing building projects show trends in HVAC and plumbing systems
- Brian Arend, PE, LEED AP, Electrical Engineering Manager, SSOE Group, Toledo, Ohio
- Shane R. Eckman, PE, LEED AP, Vice President, Industrial & Institutional Practice Leader, Stanley Consultants Inc., Minneapolis
- Kevin LaPlante, PE, LEED AP, Mechanical Group Leader, CRB, Medford, Massachusetts
- Sunondo Roy, PE, LEED AP, Director, Design Group, Romeoville, Illinois
What unique cooling systems have you specified into such projects?
Shane R. Eckman: The HVAC systems we design for our clients vary significantly. They include: Office meeting and break rooms, bathroom and locker rooms, laboratories, general warehouse, chemical storage, chemical vapor and storm shelters and lower flammability limit systems to address the potential for explosions. Each type brings its own challenges and code requirements.
What unusual or infrequently specified products or systems did you use to meet challenging cooling needs?
Sunondo Roy: An interesting application we’ve recently faced is not with cooling, but rather dehumidification. The problem was that the process involved heating humid outside air in a large, industrial scale oven to a high enough temperature to complete the drying process for the product. As such, having the air as hot as possible was key. In the hot, humid summer months, it made no sense to achieve dehumidification with mechanical refrigeration as all the energy to sub-cool the air would be completely wasted as the airstream was being heated up the oven’s gas burners to create the product drying media. Instead, the right approach was to use desiccant dehumidification to remove the moisture in the air without using excessive energy to sub-cool the process air and then reheat it in the oven.
Describe an industrial or manufacturing project in which process piping was required. What were the challenges and solutions?
Shane R. Eckman: Challenges related to process piping will vary depending on a variety of factors. The gas or fluid being conveyed and line size may dictate the type of piping material, the type and spacing of supports and anchors and the necessity to accommodate expansion through expansion joints and loops. Routing of the lines may be dictated by the capacity of the supporting structure as well (e.g., roof framing) and may require strengthening the roof system or designing a separate support structure (pipe racks).
Describe a facility in which there were specialty air movement requirements, such as unique air pressure needs or high-velocity low-speed fans.
Kevin LaPlante: Pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities depend on maintaining specific filtration levels, air change rates, space pressure relationships and directional airflows. All of which help ensure product integrity, minimize risk and protect occupants from potentially harmful environments. Careful attention is given to placement of ceiling mounted HEPA filter terminals and low wall returns to capture airborne particles while providing uniform space temperature and humidity. Computational fluid dynamics and continuous dilution modeling are common tasks when designing for these critical environments.