Friday, August 28, 2009

Owner's Project Requirements Charette

On Wednesday we held a goal setting meeting for the Sherman Fairchild project (a laboratory building full gut renovation). Representatives from the Architect, MEP Engineer, Project Management, Operations and Maintenance, Occupants, Office for Sustainability (both the green building services and the occupant engagement groups), Engineering and Utilities, IT, and EH&S were present to decide what constituted a "successful" project. Establishing goals and measures of success up front is important to getting everybody on the same page and should help quicken the design process and minimize change orders as all stakeholders have had a chance to provide their feedback.

Project goals were collected in the areas of "Project Performance", "Environmental Performance", "Human Health and Comfort", "Operations and Maintenance", and "Training and Education". OFS staff lead the meeting using the Nominal Group Technique, which collects a list of ideas from all stakeholders, gives attendees time to ask clarifying questions, and then ranks the goals to identify the most important. We'll take the results and compile a ranked set of project goals and the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR). The design team will respond to these documents in each of their design submittals and the commissioning authority will use OPR during the commissioning process. The agenda for the four hour meeting is attached here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kovac Lab Commissioning

Jesse Foote, Kevin Sheehan, and I visited the Kovac Lab on Thursday to do some of the functional testing / witness testing. The lighting controls weren't ready yet, but we confirmed the air balancing for supply and exhaust, went over the heat pump and condensate pump checklist, verified fire dampers and access panels, checked as-built drawings, looked for pipe insulation and labels, and reviewed the thermostat settings. The project looked really good and the gentleman from Comfort Air Solutions out of Framingham was really helpful. We found a large wall penetration above the ACT for cables that should be filled in (the lab calls for negative pressure and deck-to-deck partitions). We also found one fire damper that was covered up and made inaccessible as well as some un-labeled piping. The biggest concern was a lack of control dampers on the two outside air ducts. We drilled holes for a traverse in one and found the outside air to be over 37% higher than called for by the design engineer, which would result in a lot of extra heating and cooling energy. We didn't bother testing the second intake because of the lack of a control damper made making changes impossible at this time. A couple of issues were outside of the scope of work of the current project team, like no air being exhausted from the restrooms (despite supply air being delivered and an exhaust air grill) and existing air diffusers in one room directing supply air directly at the exterior wall and windows (we suggested rotating the diffuser 180 degrees). Our final recommendation was to review the thermostat schedule with the occupants and include occupant training as part of building turnover, as it seemed like the current occupied hours setting of 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM for weekdays and 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM for weekends might be unnecessarily long. We'll return soon to confirm the lighting controls.

Monday, August 10, 2009

After Dark Interview

My first (and only) TV interview is now available on the web. Holly Hurley of After Dark conducted an interview this winter for a segment titled "Conservation in Brookline." The entire interview, which is hopefully edited to make me look smarter in the actual TV show, is posted on the BASEnet website.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

DDC Training

Andrea and I attended the first of two Direct Digital Controls Systems classes this morning to learn more about optimizing building management systems. Greg Kousidis of Harvard's Facilities Management Operations group taught the four hour class using the BMS simulator he helped create. The simulator has a working model of two air handling units complete with fans, heating and cooling coils, temperature and humidity sensors, and much more. FMO and OFS (HGCI at the time) modified the Introduction to DDC and the System 600 APOGEE training materials to create the class. Today's class covered an Introduction to DDC, DDC Hardware, and the first part of Communicating with your Field Panel. Next week's class will finish Communicating with your Field Panel and end with Insight Basics. Greg will teach the rest of the OFS Building Service group later this month.

Talk at GSD

Our director and I guest lectured on Wednesday this week in the Planning and Building Sustainable Campuses executive education class at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. About 20 students attended the class, which was organized by Dan Kenney and a team from Sasaki Architects. My part of the lecture is attached. I'd taken the group on a tour of Rockefeller Hall (soon to be LEED NC v2.2 Gold) to the same group on Tuesday. Roy Lauridsen of the Harvard Divinity School met us at the building and lead the tour.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Holyoke 4th Floor Commissioning

This morning we conducted functional testing as part of our commissioning of the Holyoke Center 4th Floor fit-out. During the electrical portion of the commissioning, we confirmed all occupancy sensors were working correctly and set to the proper timing (the first project we've looked at with all occupancy sensors working correctly before commissioning). However, we noticed that the light fixtures were not dimming up and down based on the presence of daylight as they were supposed to. It turns out they needed to be set up with the photosensor tool before they'll dim, but this had not been done. We were able to work with the lighting installer and have them set the minimum (nearly off) and maximum (set to provide just over 50 foot candles at the work surfaces rather than fully on) levels for each fixture. We also made sure operating the daylight responsive dimming feature was added to the operator training planned for the next day.