Technical Reports, Myers-Lawson School of Construction

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  • Impact of Fume Hood Retrofits on the Energy Performance of Laboratory Spaces
    Reichard, Georg; Priya, Shashank (Virginia Tech. Myers Lawson School of Construction, 2014-09)
    There are probably more than a million fume hoods operated in laboratories throughout the United States. Most of these fume hoods still run under more or less continuous conditions and thus consume an enormous amount of energy per year. There seems to be a significant savings potential if the total exhausted volumes could be reduced while all safety requirements are met. Researchers have meanwhile developed and identified high-performance fume hood solutions that could facilitate a reduction of up to 75% of the consumed energy required to condition make-up air. However, most of these solutions are geared towards new construction as they require specific spatial and system design configurations. There is a lack of knowledge regarding retrofit options and their expected savings potential on energy consumption for existing laboratories. Since fume hoods interact with other systems and fulfill design requirements that are already in place, any modification will consequently impact other performance requirements within the same environment. This project set out to gain a broader understanding of direct and indirect impacts of various retrofit scenarios for individual fume hoods, their integrated function within a laboratory space, and their overall impact on energy consumption of a space.
  • Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Tobacco Curing Barns
    Reichard, Georg; Pearce, Annie R. (Virginia Tech. Myers Lawson School of Construction, 2013)
    This project report discusses a theoretical assessment model for investigating the savings potential of retrofit scenarios for curing barns. The authors evaluated the most practical and also typical retrofit scenarios, such as envelope improvements and the installation of an automated control systems. In terms of their anticipated impact on energy savings the different opportunities ranged from around 6% for added control strategies to around 12% for typical standard envelope improvements. A total upper limit of savings around 25% has been established, if more aggressive envelope improvements are paired with automated control systems. While the commonly known retrofit scenarios tackle all consumption domains other than the dehumidification/ventilation domain, it became apparent that the most promising savings lay in recovering some of the ventilation losses that are a result of controlling for the relative humidity in the curing compartment of the barn.
  • Improved Decision Making in Construction Using Virtual Site Visits
    Mills, Thomas H.; Beliveau, Yvan J.; Jung, Kyu; Ilich, Mark; Graziani, Chris; Joshi, Ketan (Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research, 2003-02)
    This study explored the dynamics of information exchange involving field issues relating to construction and the assistance that a virtual site visit can provide to the field decision-making process. Such a process can be used for inspection and surveillance situations in addition to field decision making. The virtual site visit integrates advanced digital audio/video/data conferencing technology in wired and wireless Internet formats to assist in communicating field situations to remote off-site personnel. At its highest development, project information can be transmitted wirelessly through the Internet from a remote construction site to a residency and then to multiple locations through existing communication networks. This research demonstrates the ability to provide high levels of information transfer at relatively low cost, thus enabling critical and timely decisions. This is done through the use of available hardware and software assembled in a manner that allows interactive real-time audio/video transmission and reception. The research identifies the types and applicability of information critical to design and construction operations and the applicability of the Internet and advanced technologies to improve communication and decision making. In addition, the technical limitations on implementation of low-cost real-time audio-visual information transfer were explored.