Owners, designers and architects are starving for options that will earn them Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design credits.
is big business and the trend is growing exponentially.
designers and architects are starving for options that will earn them Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design credits. Whether its
construction of a retail center, office building, university, school, hospital,
laboratory or other facility, contractors should keep in mind how a climate
control company can help them qualify for these environmentally friendly credits.
of the United States Green Building Council’s LEED certification process is to
improve the environmental performance and economic returns of buildings, while
also improving and protecting the health of the occupants. LEED seeks to define “green building” by
standardizing it with a list of specific criteria that cover a range of
building performance issues and their effect on the environment. LEED closely
reviews every facet of building design and promotes integrated design from a
project’s commencement. The process is
designed to save natural resources and increase energy efficiencies.
addition to the eco-friendly aspect, those who decide to build Green buildings
by meeting LEED guidelines are rewarded with significant tax breaks and
credits. This is important because it is estimated that a typical green
building costs 5 percent to 10 percent more then a conventional building, though
implementing efficiencies will lead to operational and energy savings over time.
projected that by 2010 there will be nearly 10,000 LEED projects underway
across the country. Thus, contractors must seek construction partners and
vendors who can help them achieve certification.
temporary climate control company can play an important role in assisting
contractors to meet indoor air quality needs and qualify for LEED credits. Companies
that offer equipment rental and HVAC consulting services allow builders the
advantage of a controlled indoor environment after the building is closed and
until the permanent HVAC system is cleared for operation. This method contributes
towards LEED credits and preserves and maintains the warranty of an HVAC system.
role for the temporary climate control company in Green building is to control
temperature, humidity and improve air quality throughout interior construction.
Credits can be earned by utilizing desiccant dehumidification equipment to
provide a more comfortable work environment, protect moisture sensitive
materials, speed completion of construction processes, eliminate mold growth
and provide clean, healthy air for workers. In addition, contributions towards credits
can be earned by conducting a building flush out to reduce possible indoor air
quality issues after construction is completed and prior to occupancy.
partnering with a vendor that has professionally accredited staff to assist in
meeting LEED requirements. A LEED-accredited professional has earned
certification from the USGBC by demonstrating a thorough understanding of Green
building practices and principles and familiarity with LEED requirements,
resources and processes. Another advantage: One credit is automatically awarded
for the participation of a LEED AP on the project review team.
your selection process easier, a climate control company will develop a
protocol document or moisture management plan that identifies how its product and
service will help contribute toward a specific credit category. This outline
includes details such as equipment supplied, expected results, timelines and
how it relates to the credit sought. A LEED AP also will work with you to
identify the specific credit for qualification.
3.1 - IAQ management
qualify for 3.1, temporary climate control equipment is used to meet the Sheet
Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association’s IAQ guidelines
for occupied buildings under construction. Equipment is used to reduce moisture
levels in unfinished facilities to protect the existing HVAC system from
contamination from dust, mold and odors. This also ensures that the HVAC system
warrant will not be activated before the building is turned over to the owner.
3.1 - Protect on-site stored materials
dehumidification equipment provides control of relative humidity, temperature,
vapor pressure, dew points and moisture load in the air. This stabilizes the
moisture content in sensitive materials such as hardwoods, sheetrock, plaster,
particleboard, stored on-site or installed.
3.2 - Flush out before occupancy
construction ends, prior to occupancy and with all interior finishes installed,
a building flush-out is performed by supplying a total air volume of 14,000
cubic feet of outdoor air per square foot of floor area. The flush out must
deliver conditions no less than 60 F. and relative humidity below 60 percent.
This high-quality temporary indoor air contributes to credits by meeting or
exceeding minimum standards.
protocol document will become a part of the formal LEED document that is
reviewed by the USGBC committee to approve qualification.
cases, a temporary climate control company’s products services can earn an innovation
in design credit. Potentially any product or service that is unique in system
or design and intended to meet overall LEED objectives is considered.
example is Munters’ energy-efficient Humidity Control Unit that has been used on project sites to assist in LEED
certification. This system takes waste heat from the condenser circuit
of the refrigeration and uses the heat to regenerate a desiccant wheel. The
user receives dehumidified air and cool air and, in essence, receives the
dehumidification for free. Over a traditional cooling system, an HCU is 30
percent more efficient than alternative technologies such as a DX or commercial
air conditioner and desiccant wheel. Following are two examples that illustrate
the use of an air treatment company to secure LEED credits.
Abbotsford Regional Hospital,
Canada’s first full-scale hospital built to environmentally friendly LEED-silver
standards, exemplifies the green approach. One key tactic involved not using the
facility’s mechanical systems during construction. Munters staff worked with
the construction firm to develop a strategic plan that called for deploying
high capacity desiccant dehumidifiers on the hospital’s rooftop and then delivering
the conditioned dry air through the facility’s mechanical exhaust ventilation system.
This plan that earned LEED credit ensured
comprehensive air distribution throughout the structure without affecting the
supply or return ductwork on the permanent HVAC system. The size and scope of
the project also provided an opportunity to unveil a completely new,
technologically-advanced line of desiccant dehumidifiers -- the DHI-125-ESU, a
9,000-cfm system that utilizes PowerPurge technology, an energy recovery option
that improves performance by delivering air at drier levels, while using
significantly less energy than traditional active desiccant dehumidification
In another example, Munters played
a role in helping project personnel receive LEED credits during the construction
of a single-story branch bank office in San Antonio. Mike Leonard, owner of
Leonard Contracting, utilized Munters to flush out the building prior to
occupancy and, in the process, qualify for Credit 3.2. During the one-week
project, MCS employed its HCU system and powered it with a generator. At the
completion of the project, Credit 3.2 was awarded.
Green Building movement continues to grow, contractors should keep in mind how
an air treatment company can play an important part in improving efficiencies during
the construction project and assist in earning eco-friendly credits.
Brown is Munters Moisture Control Services’ national sales manager for the temporary
humidity control division. He can be reached by phone at (800) 422-8379 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earning LEED credits in new construction
November 24, 2008