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Case Study

Algonquin Center for Construction Excellence

Algonquin College Center for Construction Excellence educates next generation trades by showcasing real-world solutions to achieve sustainable HVAC design and operation.

About the Project

Category: Construction

As one of the Canadian leaders in construction professional education, Algonquin College recognized the need for a new learning facility to educate next generation construction trades. Today’s green and sustainable buildings can only become a reality through cooperation of construction professionals. Algonquin’s new center for construction excellence (ACCE) brings carpenters, plumbers, civil engineering technologists, interior designers and other trades professional under one roof to create collaborative learning environment. ACCE also functions as a living laboratory, where the building itself is used to showcase sustainable building design and operation at an economical cost. ACCE’s construction, design and operation has earned ACCE the first LEED Platinum certification for a Canadian College. Designed by Goodkey Weedmark & Associates Ltd, ACCE’s heating, cooling and ventilation system uses innovative products found in LEED certified buildings. Solutions such as variable air volume (VAV) for occupancy ventilation control, high efficiency cooling/heating and energy recovery are utilized. Similar to successful green buildings through construction professionals’ collaboration, an efficient and effective HVAC system requires individual components to achieve common goals. Through this unison, the HVAC system can conserve energy while providing a healthy and comfortable environment for students and staff. Taking system efficiency to the next level are the industry leading solutions provided by CGC, TowerTech and Venmar CES. By thinking outside the box, these individual products all feature unique design features that address the performance challenges of these HVAC technologies…

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Recognizing that air is not an efficient heat transfer medium, a hydronic loop is used to heat and cool zones independently with one energy system. This is accomplished by 97 CGC Bulldog© hybrid heat pumps. Heat pumps allow efficient control of the building’s sensible loads by transferring heat from zones requiring cooling to zones requiring heat. In some conditions the building can satisfy simultaneous cooling and heating demands without an external energy input. Unlike traditional heat pumps, CGC’s Bulldog© heat pump can provide heat without operating the compressor to minimize electrical power consumption. Striving for LEED Platinum, the Engineer utilized this unique design feature to operate the hydronic loop at optimal temperatures and reducing energy use from reduced
compressor operation.

TowerTech’s ground-breaking cooling tower design adapts this 100 year old technology for the future

For heat rejection, the hydronic loop is coupled to a TowerTech cooling tower to satisfy the building’s cooling requirements. Typically, cooling tower design challenges are achieving high efficiency, preventing surrounding environment contamination and reducing tower maintenance. TowerTech’s innovative design solves these three challenges with a unique counter flow design, flow through basin and rotary nozzle system. Unlike traditional cooling towers with single top mounted fan, TowerTech uses multiple bottom mounted fans to draw air through the tower. Fans can be modulated individual or turned off to optimize energy use. The bottom mounted fans are made possible by a patented flow through basin for water collection. This water collection system eliminates standing water problems of traditional cooling towers. Unique to TowerTech, patented rotary nozzles provide even water distribution over the media for optimal heat transfer.

The rotary action eliminates fouling and plugging of traditional nozzles. Drift emissions are also minimized which prevents airborne contaminants from affecting building surroundings. Traditional towers maintain a constant flow rate across the heat transfer media resulting in excess cooling during off-peak loads. With the rotary nozzle and multi-fans, TowerTech can modulate the power output to optimize cooling output to the constantly changing load. With these unique design features, TowerTech offers the most efficient cooling tower and a perfect match for ACCE’s HVAC system.

Venmar CES custom air handling showcases FANWALL TECHNOLOGY®

Ventilation air and humidity are controlled by a Venmar CES EnergyPack® makeup air and air handling unit. The 35,000 and 30,000 CFM units are factory assembled and tested ensure optimal performance as designed. Using integrated heat pumps, outside air is conditioning using the same hydronic loop as the zone heat pumps. This allows for use of the building internal energy gains and losses to efficiently condition the entering outside air. With a total of 273 tons of cooling, coupled to the hydronic loop and TowerTech cooling tower, the makeup air unit can efficiently control the building’s latent load. Ventilation air is distributed using CES group FANWALL TECHNOLOGY®.

Traditionally air handler use a large fan to move air throughout building. FANWALL TECHNOLOGY® uses an array of small direct- drive fans to deliver improved ventilation with minimal air handler footprint. Not only does this save valuable floor space, the compact air handler allows students to walk through the mechanical room.

With nothing to hide, the units feature custom glass doors and LED lighting for students to view internal components in operation. Providing ventilation air during cold days can lead to low relative humidity levels. For humidification, a Nortec SAM-e insulated steam distribution manifold is integrated into the makeup air unit. Clean, chemical free steam from potable water is supplied to the manifold by a Nortec gas-fired humidifier. Utilizing fully modulating burners and distributing steam through an insulated steam manifold to minimize condensate losses, the Nortec humidifier system efficiently humidifies the ventilation air of the entire building.

ACCE: ultimate show-and-tell

Through proven design and innovative products from CGC, TowerTech, Venmar CES and Nortec, ACCE educates next generation trades with real-world solutions to design and build sustainable HVAC systems. The result: ACCE not only succeeds in teaching students, the building shows students how applied ingenuity can solve tomorrow’s construction challenges.

Longhill Energy has unparalleled access to many of the world’s leading HVAC manufacturers and their unique technologies.