Product / system manufacture
Product / system supply
University of Wolverhampton
EASYLAB room air management system; VAV controllers
When the University of Wolverhampton built its £25m Rosalind Franklin Science Building, the energy efficiency of the new facility was of utmost importance as it had set ambitious targets as part of a 5-year Sustainability Strategy.
The energy consumption of laboratories is often 3-4 times that of offices on a square metre basis. This can mean that laboratory buildings are responsible for 50-80% of the total energy-related (non-residential) carbon emissions of research-intensive universities. One of the major reasons for high energy consumption in labs relates to the need for larger volumes of conditioned air. In addition to the higher cooling loads associated with IT-intensive spaces, labs involve elevated energy consumption associated with fume cupboards, which require high volumes of air supply and extraction to ensure that work can be carried out safely. Providing energy-efficient air management was therefore fundamental to achieve outstanding environmental performance for the new building.
TROX installed its EASYLAB room air management system (to optimise the energy efficiency of supply and extraction of air in the labs), in addition to Variable Air Volume (VAV) controllers for the building’s central air conditioning and cooling system. TROX also analysed the air terminal device requirements of different zones in the building, installing the best possible designs of grilles and diffusers to maintain the optimum learning environment for students and staff.
EASYLAB manages the supply and extract controllers so that they respond rapidly to changes in extract volumes by the technical extract (eg fume cupboards) to ensure the correct air flow balance and room pressure at all times in the labs. This significantly improves energy efficiency as it prevents unnecessary supply of conditioned air to the space. The energy savings are made possible by offsetting one form of exhaust air against another. By scaling down room exhaust air extraction in line with fume cupboard extraction when sashes are open, the room air management system is able to prevent over-supply and extraction of conditioned air from the space.
EASYLAB has also meant that the energy-saving mode on the Building Management System can be utilised effectively to reduce energy consumption when laboratories are unoccupied.
To work in conjunction with EASYLAB, VAV controllers have been installed within the building’s central aircon system. These VAV controllers ensure that the supply of conditioned air throughout the building can increase and decrease automatically in line with building load. This provides a significant opportunity to reduce energy consumption compared with traditional constant speed systems – where components are set to work at full load at all times.
Lastly, the effective selection of the optimum air terminal devices will ensure that conditioned air is delivered into occupied zones in the best possible way to ensure an effective learning environment. TROX determined the best grilles and diffusers to install in different parts of the building to avoid draughts, dumping of cold air, or stagnation/inadequate circulation. These devices ensure the effective control of air velocity, turbulence intensity and temperature differential.
The variable air volume (VAV) air management system has enabled the University to make significant strides towards their sustainability targets by improving carbon footprint in the most energy-intensive part of the university.