School systems have a number of challenges, including fluctuating occupancy and diversity of spaces. We keep a number of things in mind when advising design engineers, architects, and building owners about what kinds of HVAC equipment will be most effective for specific K-12 applications. Most of the time, K-12 buildings will require a number of different HVAC systems to meet diverse needs.
- Occupancy: Variable occupancy can be an issue when designing mechanical systems for schools. For example, some schools are completely closed in the summer but still need to maintain some degree of temperature and humidity control to protect educational assets. Another example is during sporting events or musical performances, crowds in gymnasiums and auditoriums can swell to large numbers.
- Diversity of spaces: Traditional classrooms have very different heating and cooling requirements from computer labs, science labs or art rooms. Gymnasiums are different from cafeterias.
- Costs: First costs are often extremely important in K-12 projects. However, it’s always important to consider life-cycle costs, including annual energy and lighting costs, as well when designing a school intended to last 30 years or more.
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