RTM Engineering Consultants proactively designs efficient and innovative mechanical systems, and our engineers work diligently to satisfy both energy goals for building owners and comfort requirements for building occupants. Our mechanical team leverages a broad range of experiences in all aspects of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and energy efficiency.
Proper ventilation is essential in residential buildings due to its effects on occupant health and comfort. Providing ventilation for good indoor air quality in high-rise buildings presents several challenges that must be given special attention to avoid excessive ventilation and energy waste. RTM delivers innovative designs that improve airflow balancing and energy efficiency in high-rise buildings to achieve required ventilation.
Factors that affect consistent ventilation within a building include variance of indoor and outdoor temperature (i.e. stack effect), wind, and opening a door in a stairwell. These factors contribute to the pressure profile of a building and directly impact the performance of the ventilation system.
To meet ventilation requirements for each project, RTM engineers typically perform pressurization calculations to determine how stack, elevator piston and wind effect will affect a building based on traditional weather data. This uncovers the size of equipment needed and how much air needs to be brought into the building to create that balance.
After calculations have determined how much air is being brought into a building, our team works with the LEED consultant(s) of the project to ensure energy efficiency goals are also being met. The air that is being brought into the building runs through an energy recovery unit so that the outgoing air can heat the incoming air. RTM engineers also coordinate with the project team to determine the locations of equipment, and shaft sizes. Our team then works with the architect to ensure the building meets plan and development requirements, as well as coordinating life safety plans, which can encompass the use of fire and smoke dampers.
For ventilation design projects, RTM also utilizes building information modeling (BIM) to coordinate equipment location. While traditional building design relies on 2D models, RTM specializes in 3D-based design which generates a digital representation of a building’s physical and functional characteristics—creating a platform for teams to specify and capture important information, from light fixture characteristics to structural data. The 3D model allows everyone involved to visualize buildings before they have been created, and leads to proper transmission of discipline-specific data through each design phase. We believe in delivering continuous innovation as it relates to our technology capabilities, this plays a critical role in overserving our clients, which is our number one priority.
Here’s an example of RTM working with a client to meet energy and ventilation requirements:
RTM provided MEP/FP engineering for a new 131,181-square-foot, 12-story, 124-unit residential complex in the heart of Ann Arbor, MI. The complex accommodates a variety of layouts, including studios, two-, three-, and four-bedroom options, and multiple amenity spaces such as a club room, fitness center, spa, business center, an outdoor terrace, and rooftop lounge area with an infinity hot tub and fireplace.
Ventilation was provided from a make-up air unit on the roof, which had to be custom built to meet the height requirements of the project site. As a result, RTM was able to modify the equipment to maximize its efficiency and to accommodate the various pressure imbalances within a high-rise building such as stack effect, wind effect and piston effect. RTM completed calculations to determine the extent of these imbalances and applied solutions to offset them by pressurizing spaces where needed. A stairwell and elevator pressurization system also were designed for this project to meet the requirements of the building code and to positively pressurize the elevator shaft and stairwell in the event of a fire occurring within the building.
Read about the full project here, and learn more about our residential market expertise.