Talk to a LaBella Expert
Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning is a broad subject area that covers much of what we do as mechanical engineers working on buildings and facilities. We have experience with many different system types from packaged rooftop units to custom indoor air handlers, boiler and chiller plants and associated piping design systems, under floor and overhead radiant heating, air source and water source heat pumps, and other systems.
Regardless of the pursuit of a building certification or rating programs such as LEED, Green Globes, WELL, or ASHRAE Building EQ we endeavor to utilize sustainable and green building design concepts in our design work whenever possible.
Many building owners are choosing to incorporate specific sustainable design options into their projects based on their needs and goals. These options range from control features to improve system energy performance, heat recovery, increased ventilation or zone control, and water conservation as a few examples.
Mechanical Master Plans
This is a very important planning tool for building and facility owners looking to plan ahead and effectively manage their resources and maintain building stock. We have completed multiple types of master planning studies on a scale that ranges from small single buildings to large campus facilities. These studies can vary in detail and scope to match a clients needs. Items that would typically be evaluated are existing equipment condition and remaining service life, energy evaluation, comfort and environmental quality, maintainability, operations, and replacement cost. However, more detailed studies can be completed through testing, trend logging/analysis, retro-commissioning or recommissioning of systems.
Indoor Air Quality Analysis
Indoor air quality designs were at one time more of an exercise in updating systems to match current code requirements for outdoor air ventilation. However, this has received much attention and focus in recent years due to the pandemic.
We have completed multiple studies evaluating building indoor air quality and making recommendations to improve building air quality for occupants. We are also able to assist with all types of indoor air quality concerns from implementation of systems needed for upgrade of older buildings to incorporate required ventilation air systems, to improved conditioning of outside air, heat recovery capabilities, energy saving control options, humidification, freeze protection, filtration, and air cleaning systems.
Laboratory and industrial ventilation systems are an area were we have significant experience. We have experience with laboratory design from healthcare, K-12 education, higher education, and research facilities.
We have provided lab fume hoods and their associated make up air systems and controls required to maintain room and building pressure balances.
Similarly, we have experience in industrial facilities and shops that require hoods and exhaust systems for personnel protection. We have worked on these types of systems in large industrial manufacturing facilities, K-12, municipalities, and vehicle repair facilities providing welding exhaust, dust collection systems, paint booths, and vehicle exhaust systems.
Another area of expertise for us has been smoke control systems that have become more prevalent with updates in the building codes and improvements in building fire safety.
We have experience with many different boiler systems producing hot water and steam at multiple operating pressures and fuel sources. This is a very common, traditional, and reliable system used primarily in cold climates.
Our experience ranges from very small boilers up to large campus high pressure systems and includes services that consider energy efficiency, heat recovery, pumping improvements, control upgrades, combustion efficiency, emissions permitting, replacement analysis, and new design.
Central Chiller Plant Design
Similar to boiler design, chillers are a traditional and common form of providing building and facility cooling. We have experience with many sizes and types of chillers from absorption chillers, smaller scroll compressor models, large centrifugal compressors, air cooled, water cooled and associated heat rejection system types, variable primary pumping, primary/secondary pumping, and larger tertiary campus pumping systems. We are aware of possible innovation with these systems and use of heat recovery or heat pump systems that make use of the waste heat associated with the refrigeration cycle.
Geothermal and Clean Heat System Design
The progression away from our reliance on carbon emitting fuels is causing a large shift in the way we think about heating our buildings and facilities. As newer heating technologies come on the market and we get better at energy efficiency and building thermal envelopes implementation of geothermal heating and air source heat pumps will become more dominant.
We have experience in the implementation of these types of systems and the ability to assist with analysis including pursuit of available incentives.
Code Compliance Review
We are constantly having to maintain our code knowledge as codes and standards on which they are based are continually being updated and modified to improve energy efficiency, health, and safety.
Our resources include state codes and code commentary books, NFPA, ASHRAE, and other standards. Our personnel are also active in the grassroots organizations responsible for writing and updating these standards and training the public on their use and implementation.
As HVAC system become more complicated and we push for increased energy savings controls become more important. Use of building management systems that utilize Direct Digital Control (DDC) has become the norm for most facilities. Even for smaller building owners systems will typically utilize some level of DDC even if through individual stand alone controllers.
We have experience working with many control vendors and can work to help owners economize by using packaged controllers to achieve their needs. We can also assist building owners with integration of controls using specific control protocols and navigating decisions on how to maximize the value of their control systems.