Creating green facilities

The new HVAC system brings Selkirk’s ventilation to code

by Submitted

Selkirk College’s Castlegar campus is bringing its ventilation system up to compliance with current B.C. Building Code requirements, thanks to funding from the federal and provincial Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

In June, 2009, the college received $1.88 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) for the replacement of its existing heating and ventilating (HVAC) system. The replacement is required to improve the system’s energy efficiency and ventilation and to increase summer programming capacity at the college.

Kootenay HVAC contractor Venture Mechanical Systems, in Castlegar, was the general contractor for the installation system and the job is very close to completion. The system will be in compliance with the current B.C. Building Code and its energy conservation measures, which were amended in 2008.

The three campus wings currently undergoing renovation—Monashee, Granite and Upper Bonnington—were never air conditioned in the past, with the exception of local cooling systems located in the computer server and computer lab areas. The current mechanical systems renovations will provide air conditioning for non-air-conditioned classroom and lab areas in an energy efficient manner and will also provide appropriate ventilation.

Despite the ventilation capacity increase and the expansion of the existing campus-wide chilled water cooling system for the three building blocks, there will be a zero per cent increase in Selkirk’s carbon footprint. This is largely due to the innovative HVAC system design that incorporates an overall chilled water cooling system without the use of refrigeration compressor bearing machinery. This, in combination with the heat recovery ventilation components and motorized economizers, permits free-cooling with outside air on cooler days, without having to operate the regular air-conditioning system.

The chilled water cooling system incorporates the existing ground source well water system with relatively minor additions to the existing heat exchanger unit. Conservative estimates indicate that the new HVAC system will save at least 71 per cent in energy costs compared to standard systems of equal capacities.

The KIP is a two-year, $2-billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions across Canada. As part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the program provides funding to support deferred maintenance, repair and expansion projects at universities and colleges.

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