From April 2018, there will be changes made to the energy efficiency regulations which will mean that every property that is non-domestic and privately rented must have an energy performance certificate, or EPC. It has been said that, as part of the changes, the property must have a rating of at least an E energy efficiency, as with will be a central part of meeting regulations as well as cutting costs and minimising the level of carbon emissions released.
For heating, ventilation and air conditioning, or HVAC, a number of tips have been laid out by John Rush, the HVAC and mechanical services expert for Boulting Environmental Services, the cleanroom and laboratory design and construction specialist.
The company begin by saying that when designing the facility, it must be safe comfortable and energy efficient. Making a building energy efficient can be achieved in a number of different ways, such as making improvements to any of the HVAC systems, which can have the most significant effect especially in laboratories. Labs have to feature large HVAC systems, which means that they consume a large amount of energy per square metre. These units are essential for the control of airflow and temperature, and by installing a good HVAC design, the carbon footprint of a laboratory can be dramatically reduced.
In commercial buildings, the ventilation requirements of a typical office equates to around 4 Air Changes per Hour. However for laboratories this increases dramatically to anywhere between 8 and 30 Air Changes. This means that the HVAC used needs to be able to cope with the higher demand, which has a knock on effect on the amount of energy used.
Another development in HVAC is the use of Direct Digital Controls which can be introduced by designers and can offer variable flow control for fume cupboards and supply air, which can be altered depending on the occupancy and usage of the room. The Automatic occupancy controls means that air change rates can be reduced when there is a lower level of fume cupboard use.