Thursday, March 18, 2010

Francis Lab Commissioning

On Friday, March 5th, Kevin Bright, Kevin Sheehan, Philip Kreycik, and I met with representatives from the electrician, controls contractor, balancer, and construction manager as part of the commissioning process for the Francis Lab in the Harvard Biolabs building. We checked every occupancy sensor in the space, including those that control the overhead lights and thermostats as well as those that control the task lighting at all of the lab benches. Many of the overhead occupancy sensors were located too close to air diffuser vents and would never shut off, so we had to re-set the sensitivity (in most cases electing to switch them to infrared only rather than using the ultrasonic / infrared dual technology). We also put each fan coil unit into heating and cooling modes and checked schedules and worked with Siemens to fix anything we found such as opportunities for simultaneous heating and cooling or non-responsive thermostats. While there, we compared what was installed to the drawings to see if the as-built drawings needed to be updated. We found a couple of concrete penetrations without sleeves, but determined this was outside the scope of work for this project. We also found a hole in a compressed air line that would need to be repaired. Finally, we checked the face velocity for the fume hoods, making sure that they stayed at 100 fpm at all sash heights. Unfortunately, some peculiarities with the building's HVAC system didn't allow us to run the face velocity any lower. The first fume hood we tested wasn't programmed properly and wasn't responding to the sash height. Kevin Bright continued the functional testing process for the remaining building systems after the rest of the Harvard Office for Sustainability team left and we've since shared our list of issues with the project manager. This is one of multiple visits to the site as construction winds down, which is part of the functional testing component of commissioning. At OFS, we always try to conduct full ASHRAE Guideline 0 commissioning and include plumbing systems in addition to energy systems and include user training in addition to occupant training. We've found the process to be extremely beneficial and cost effective for the interior fit-out projects that we're targeting.

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