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December 2014         
University of Houston Health and Biomedical Sciences Building
UH Health and Biomed Sciences Building
Image courtesy of University of Houston

The Health and Biomedical Sciences Building (HBSB) at the University of Houston (UH) opened last February as a key clinical, educational and interdisciplinary research arena that brings together investigators from different colleges and departments in a first-class facility. Seeking to raise the bar beyond traditional models of cross departmental communication the space allows researchers with related interests from neuropsychology, neuroscience, quantitative psychology, biology, computer science, engineering, pharmacy and optometry, to readily collaborate in the building's laboratory space for cross-disciplinary teamwork. 

The first two floors encompass the Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute, which includes the Vision Source Surgery Center, the Laser Refractive Center, The Doctors of Texas State Optical Alumni Education Center, the Brien Holden Vision Institute Classrooms and Learning Center, and The Ocular Surface Institute. The second and third floors contain classrooms and meeting rooms. The fourth floor are open labs which are currently under construction and the fifth and sixth floor are vivaria. Each of these floors presented a great opportunity to save UH money by optimizing air change rates within the space.

Local channel partner, Vicon Equipment, brought Aircuity's solution to the university as a way to safely reduce energy use. The centralized demand control ventilation system was installed throughout the building delivering different benefits based on the application. Aircuity's solution is monitoring only on the first floor, which allows employees to know exactly what is going on within the vision institute including critical areas such as operating rooms. The data can be used for regulatory and internal reporting along with ensuring the patient is in the best environment possible. Aircuity is optimizing ventilation based on CO2 in the on the second and third floors and in the vivaria located on the top floors Aircuity is monitoring and controlling based on a variety of parameters. As a result the vivaria are more energy efficient while animal and human occupants are provided with a healthy indoor environmental quality.

The university recently produced a study in the HBSB vivarium evaluating DCV versus constant volume ventilation. The results were presented at AALAS in October. Check out an excerpt from the corresponding white paper below!


A University of Houston Research Study

Energy Efficiency of a Large Animal Vivarium
Over the last several years support for tying ventilation rates directly to current conditions has grown and changes have been made to the standards and guidelines as a result. Researchers at the University of Houston analyzed the conditions in two non-human primate vivaria when ventilation was run at both constant volume and when using Aircuity's demand control ventilation (DCV) solution. During the 60 day period ventilation rates along with temperature, relative humidity, TVOCs, CO2 and particle levels were monitored.

In constant volume ventilation mode the rooms were being overventilated the majority of the time. Room A was above baseline only 0.4% of the time and Room B was above 3.6% of the time. When taking into account the university’s utility cost, $4.60/CFM, operating the vivarium rooms using centralized demand control ventilation instead of constant volume airflow, saves $2,080 per room annually. Based on a vivarium facility that contains 19 rooms, the savings amount to $39,500. The Aircuity system helped the university to save energy and enhance the IEQ while adhering to current standards and guidelines.

  Room A Room B
CFR Mode CFM 652.61 468.27
DCV Baseline 101.71 103.83
DCV Average 102.38 111.82
DCV Peak 379.28 781.87

To read the full white paper including data on the IEQ parameters, click here.
Happy Holidays
from Aircuity

Aircuity Holiday Tree 4
We thank everyone who helped make 2014 great and look forward to continuing our quest to help customers lower energy use, enhance IEQ and maximizing your building's airside performance in 2015!

-Dan Diehl, CEO
CSE Magazine's Project Profile:

University of Findlay Science Building

University of Findlay Davis Science Building
Image courtesy of Greensleeves LLC and University of Findlay

The University of Findlay's Davis Building was completed in 2012 and provides approximately 42,000 sq ft of science classrooms and related spaces.

Science buildings with multiple fume hoods and high ventilation rates are often the highest net energy-consuming buildings per sq ft on a campus. The project team was challenged by the University to create a building that had a minimal energy usage while providing a safe and comfortable educational environment.

The design process began immediately with extensive energy modeling as the architect worked through early concepts of massing, fenestration and wall construction types. The final envelope design consisted of high mass walls enveloped with exterior insulation covered by architectural metal.This insulated thermal mass was then leveraged in the design of the HVAC system, enabling the interior to absorb peak heating and cooling loads in a manner that "time shifted" the peak loads by several hours. This also allowed a reduction in the peak load seen by the central plant

An air quality monitoring system tracking volatile organic compounds (VOCs), CO2, particle counts, and wet bulb air temperature to ensure that the air quality within the spaces is being maintained. The air quality monitoring system takes air samples from each space on a rotating basis and conveys the samples to a central air quality testing station where the air is analyzed for CO2, VOCs, and wet bulb temperature. Should one of the monitored items exceed a setpoint, the ventilation rate in the space is automatically increased. In the event of a solvent spill in a lab area, the system automatically initiates a high air volume flush mode to rapidly remove the contaminants.

Find out more about the project by clicking here to read the full article.
Aircuity Events
We are currently planning our 2015 conference schedule. Check back next month to see what events will kick off the new year.
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