4 FM quick reads on windows
1. Look Out for Window Problems
Today's tip is about understanding how to care for windows and address problems that could turn into huge headaches if left unchecked.
Clearly, the easiest way to avoid letting hidden problems fester and get the longest life possible out of windows is to do regular inspections and complete routine preventive maintenance. Of course, in large facilities, the sheer number of windows makes regular inspections difficult, so experts suggest inspecting several samples on each façade of the building. If you recognize a pattern of problems, it's a safe assumption that most or all of the windows have the same problem.
To complete a meaningful inspection, look at the frames and make sure there is no gap between frame and wall that may have resulted from temperature swings that cause regular expansion and contraction. On the exterior, examine the caulking between the window and exterior wall to make sure it's not cracked and that the seal is still true.
If windows are operable, open and close them several times and listen for groans or other odd noises, which are indications that the windows are out of form. Make sure the operator mechanisms themselves aren't warped or rusty.
Finally, take a good look at the cosmetic condition of the interior and exterior window frames - if the paint is peeling or the wood warping, it's a good sign that moisture is present, where there's moisture, there's probably air leakage too.
2. Reducing HVAC First Costs and Operating Costs
Today's tip concerns saving money on HVAC costs.
The time to start thinking about HVAC is at the very start of programming a new building. That's because life-cycle HVAC costs for a new building are often locked in before the efficiency of chillers and boilers has even come up for discussion.
The siting of the building, for example, will affect solar gain. The choice of windows can influence both heat transfer and solar gain. Likewise, the level of insulation in the walls and roof plays a significant role in determining the operating cost of the HVAC system. And the type of lighting system used in the facility will have some effect on heating and cooling loads.
It's not just energy costs that can be saved. Smaller loads translate into smaller chillers, fans and boilers, reducing first costs as well as operating costs.
Specifying efficient HVAC equipment is important, of course, but by the time talk turns to manufacturers and model numbers, many of the most important decisions regarding HVAC efficiency have already been made. That's why it's useful for facility managers to get involved as early as possible in programming.