|Indoor Environmental Quality - Zoning is the word!
Interior Environment - it's a term you're going to hear more about in the near future, and the future is today at OWC! There are several aspects to interior zoning for optimal environmental control. Let's look at some of them and see how they work together. Interior environment consists of several elements. Among them are air quality, temperature, humidity, environmental toxins and lighting. Promoting a Green interior environment also means setting the standards high and starting from there!
Air quality is a combination of factors: dust control; removing the bacteria and mold that are common to HVAC systems; and optimizing CO2 mixtures as well as temperature. How do you achieve this balance within a large building with multiple offices and large rooms?
The answer is Zoning. Zoning consists of sensors which monitor various aspects of space environmental quality. Let's look at an office to demonstrate how these controls work.
CO2 and Temperature
In each interior space, a sensor will monitor two primary elements: Carbon Dioxide, and room temperature. While both criteria can often be met as a combination, with seasonal change, monitoring them individually provides a much greater degree of energy efficiency and control.
Carbon Dioxide levels in a room are quite low when there is a single occupant. However, as the number of people in the room increases, CO2 levels will rise accordingly, from people's intake of oxygen, and exhaling carbon dioxide.
High CO2 levels within the work environment have been shown to have negative effects on room comfort and personal productivity. In this instance, when the exhaled CO2 from multiple occupants causes the CO2 level to rise beyond a pre-set level, the sensor notes this, and causes heating/cooling vents into the room to open, permitting more fresh air into the room. When sensor sampling of the air indicates that there are less people in the room, the "zone" is activated to reflect that fact, and the vents will automatically redirect air into other parts of the building.
All of this is automatic without any user input, unless the user requests a comfort level different (warmer or cooler) than those of the primary settings for the building. Rather than change parameters for the entire building, this zone adjustment can be customized for an individual's preferences within their personal zone.
Addressing air quality is accomplished both by filtering out existing toxins and reducing the buildup of bacteria and molds that can enter the air circulation system.
Micron Air Filters
The first stage of cleaning air entering the HVAC system is always a good quality air filter. Just like at home, a good quality air filter can capture up to 99.9% of dust, molds, pollen and other pollutants in the air before it is ever passed into the first stage of the system. Like so many things, the very backbone of a system turns out to be one of the most inexpensive parts of the system! A good filter eliminates most of the contaminants, and those
that do pass through, have to face the......
The heat exchange coil on the inside of the building is virtually identical to the one in every home. Here you will find water condensation and
as a result, a breeding ground for various entities, from viral, to bacteria and molds, all of which like damp, dark areas to grow.
Making the coil a place where these "critters" won't want to make their home can be done with just a pair of light bulbs!. Ultra-violet light, to be specific. A small bulb, looking like a fluorescent tube, ranging from two to four feet in length, will sit on each side of the heat exchange coil. Like those used in water purification, as the air passes near the bulb, the wavelength of ultra-violet light will kill mold, viruses and bacteria before they can make their home in the coil. The ultra-voilet light is always shining on the coil too, and as air that has been filtered by a super high quality micron air filter enters the chamber, the UV light cleans of its "live" cargo before it is passed through the vents and the work areas.