4  FM quick reads on hvac

1. Waterproofing Strategies for Vegetative Roofs


This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is waterproofing strategies for vegetative roofs.

Project specifications related to waterproofing of vegetative roofing assemblies should include root barriers and membrane protection, fully adhered or grid-isolated attachment, water testing of the installed membrane, and electronic leak-monitoring systems, if desired.

Fully adhered systems inhibit water movement between the roof deck and the waterproofing membrane, so if a leak occurs, the water will not travel far. This feature simplifies leak detection and repair.

Managers can specify grid isolation if the membrane is loose-laid or partially adhered. When it is adhered in a grid pattern, the assembly isolates leaks to a single area of the grid. For systems that are not fully or grid adhered, locating and repairing leaks can be time-consuming and expensive, particularly on intensive vegetative systems. Specifying an electronic leak-detection system also can reduce costs associated with leaks. If leaks occur, electronic systems can pinpoint the breaches and ensure quick and efficient repairs.

Specifications also should include quality-assurance requirements, including flood testing and regular installation inspections by an independent inspector and a manufacturer's representative.

Many manufacturers require flood testing of waterproofing membranes before the installation of protection mats and growing media. Inspection of the installation, especially of the waterproofing membrane, is essential. Inspectors also should monitor the membrane for damage caused by installers or other workers on site, especially for new construction projects.

Punctures in the waterproofing membrane often can occur after flood testing. If the spaces below the roof are sensitive to moisture, technicians should conduct regular electronic monitoring.

Maintaining vegetative roofs can be relatively simple if managers choose drought-resistant plants and are looking for a natural aesthetic. But some systems require irrigation and regular landscaping.


2.  Portable Cooling: Preparation and Planning

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is developing a plan for portable cooling.

For managers to realize the full benefits of a temporary cooling system, they must carefully evaluate their buildings' requirements and select the system that most closely meets the needs of their facilities. Planning is the key, but it is difficult, at best, to plan once the cooling service has failed.

The first step in the process is to identify the most critical areas within a facility that would be most adversely affected by the loss of cooling. Not all areas are equally important. Cooling might be necessary to keep computers and other critical electronic equipment operating, or it might provide comfort only. Managers need to determine the impact a loss of cooling services would have on operations.

Next, determine the extent of any potential disruption. Would it be localized in isolated areas within a building, or would it be building-wide? Managers can address localized, temporary cooling requirements through the use of spot, portable systems. More widespread outages might require a building-wide solution.

Another option — one that would not require additional equipment — is to determine if it is possible to temporarily relocate the operations affected by the outage to another location within the facility.

Managers need to evaluate a number of factors before selecting a temporary or portable cooling system. One of the most important steps in this phase is to determine the capacity of the required cooling system. Specify a system that is too small, and the area might not cool properly. Specify one that is too large, and the result will be inefficient operation, frequent cycling of the unit, excessive noise, and improper humidity control.

Managers can develop quick estimates of cooling loads by looking at the power requirements of all equipment operating in the space. They also can ensure more accurate load calculations by having engineers perform the calculations.

3.  Evaluate Maintenance Benefits of HVAC Upgrade

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: Take a close look at maintenance issues when considering an HVAC system upgrade.

There are many factors to weigh when evaluating the feasibility of an HVAC system upgrade. Potential benefits range from reduced energy use to improved comfort to improved reliability. But as HVAC systems age, maintenance requirements also increase. Yet maintenance costs are too often ignored when system retrofits are being evaluated. In fact, as long as a system doesn't stop working, it might not even be considered as a retrofit candidate. But just because an HVAC system is able to limp along doesn't mean it is operating efficiently or meeting the requirements of the application.

When a facility manager is considering an HVAC upgrade, it is worthwhile to look through maintenance records for the building. High maintenance costs and increasing maintenance requirements are an indication that those systems or components might be approaching the end of their service lives. Facility executives should set priorities for HVAC system retrofits based in part on maintenance requirements.

Another factor to consider is the availability of replacement parts. When components for a particular system are no longer manufactured, or if the manufacturer should go out of business, it is only a matter of time before it will be necessary to replace the system. This has happened frequently with building automation systems.

Consider also the maintenance requirements of the HVAC systems and components that are being installed as part of the retrofit. Can they be maintained by in-house personnel, or will the maintenance have to be performed by an outside party under contract? What tools and training will be required if the system is to be properly operated and maintained? What are the projected maintenance costs? Ignoring maintenance requirements for the upgraded system will only guarantee having to retrofit the system before it would otherwise be necessary.

4.  Portable Cooling: Preparation and Planning

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is developing a plan for portable cooling.

For managers to realize the full benefits of a temporary cooling system, they must carefully evaluate their buildings' requirements and select the system that most closely meets the needs of their facilities. Planning is the key, but it is difficult, at best, to plan once the cooling service has failed.

The first step in the process is to identify the most critical areas within a facility that would be most adversely affected by the loss of cooling. Not all areas are equally important. Cooling might be necessary to keep computers and other critical electronic equipment operating, or it might provide comfort only. Managers need to determine the impact a loss of cooling services would have on operations.

Next, determine the extent of any potential disruption. Would it be localized in isolated areas within a building, or would it be building-wide? Managers can address localized, temporary cooling requirements through the use of spot, portable systems. More widespread outages might require a building-wide solution.

Another option — one that would not require additional equipment — is to determine if it is possible to temporarily relocate the operations affected by the outage to another location within the facility.

Managers need to evaluate a number of factors before selecting a temporary or portable cooling system. One of the most important steps in this phase is to determine the capacity of the required cooling system. Specify a system that is too small, and the area might not cool properly. Specify one that is too large, and the result will be inefficient operation, frequent cycling of the unit, excessive noise, and improper humidity control.

Managers can develop quick estimates of cooling loads by looking at the power requirements of all equipment operating in the space. They also can ensure more accurate load calculations by having engineers perform the calculations.


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hvac , portable cooling , spot cooling , cooling , temporary cooling

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