6 Ways to Reduce Mechanical Space in MEP Engineering
MEP engineering has to do with different characteristics involved in the design of a building. It involves creating the plan, design, and maintenance of the building’s MEP system and ensuring that they get the necessary approval from the local building department.
As an MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) design engineer, it is noteworthy that mechanical equipment plays a vital role in industrial, commercial, and residential locations and performs several functions. Some of these functions include humility control, space heating and cooling, supplying hot or chilled water, ventilation, etc.
Pieces of equipment such as these, coupled with their piping and ductwork, are known to take up a large space. However, it is the engineer’s work during their MEP engineering services to make sure that they minimize mechanical space by making sure that the installations are more compact.
The following are proven tips and practices of MEP engineering that every engineer can adopt to help with minimizing mechanical space.
Tips and practices of MEP engineering
1. Don’t install boilers far from the roof.
If you’re using boilers that require fuel combustion to work and combust fuels like natural gas, propane, biomass, biodiesel, or oil, then you need a chimney to allow exhaustion of the flue gases.
The chimney problem might require too many spaces because it’s crossing the whole distance between the rooftop and the boiler. When you don’t install the boiler close to the highest level, it will have to go through more floors.
This is why it is ideal to install the boiler as high as it can go in the building. This will reduce the length of the chimney. On its own, this offers several advantages.
- There is more space on all the floors that can be used for other things but would have been taken up by the chimney.
- You save cost on the chimney.
- Installation is safer due to the reduction in the possibility of releasing flue gases indoors.
If you can’t install the boilers on the highest floor or the attic, you should use another heating system that doesn’t need a chimney-like a heat pump, solar, or electric water heater. You can put the solar heater at the top of the roof to save space indoors. It does not require energy input as it works with sunlight.
2. HVAC upgrades
Upgrading the air condition, ventilation, and heating systems are necessary. A structural engineer for residential buildings will confirm the benefits of this. It makes it possible to use natural sources of heat and natural ventilation, minimize energy loss in a more conventional system, integrate more efficient technologies in HVAC operations, etc. There are a lot of other methods that ensure the proficiency of the HVAC system.
According to assignment help in essay writing service UK on MEP Engineering, buildings can improve HVAC efficiency in different ways. This includes thermal storage upgrade, sensor utilization, and HVAC operations automation to enable it to operate optimally.
It takes a lot of work in configuring, routing, and concealing when you want to install HVAC ductwork in an old building, especially since you have to maintain the building’s aesthetics and meet comfort standards code requirements. You can replace radiators with a fan coil in historic buildings since they have smaller pipes and aren’t as intrusive as systems with forced air. You can also preserve ceilings with a vault using the vertically routed ductwork when the ceiling has little space above it.
The design process must always be considered and planned carefully to install equipment within areas that can’’ be seen or complements the building’s aesthetics.
3. Install the AC in the ceiling
The condenser is the most significant part of an AC system, and it is usually outdoor. They take up plenty of space when they’re installed on the walls outside the building. This can prevent outdoor circulation when they are placed on the house’s first floor.
The condensers also give out plenty of heat and may restrict warm air circulation when there’s not much outdoor space because of proximity to a wall or other buildings. There are two bad consequences of this:
- outdoor locations may become uncomfortable due to warm air,
- the condenser’s operational efficiency reduces.
If you place the condenser at the top of the roof instead, it is easier for warm air to circulate. Also, noise is not much of a problem.
Within commercial facilities, the cooling systems and air conditioning are usually more prominent, but it requires the same logic. Rooftop installation saves a lot of outdoor space. You have to ensure that your structural design consultancy approves that your roof can support the condenser’s weight before going ahead with it.
4. Install equipment in spaces that are usually free and unused
This is the most straightforward strategy that you can employ to minimize mechanical space. There are always spaces in and around a house that is rarely used. Install the mechanical equipment in such places.
An example of one of such places is the roof bulkheads. This structure is usually present in many buildings even though it is hard very rarely. In architectural engineering design, the purpose of this structure is to give access to the roof. So, their main usage is during the construction of the house or routine maintenance of the house.
5. Increase the insulation
One of the best ways is to cut down on energy consumption. The difference in heat gain and heat loss resulting from differential temperatures in the house’s exterior and interior is usually at the highest point at the building top. If you are going for new insulation, then you might see the need for structural upgrades. You can add insulation to the attic spaces left unfinished. This provides you savings on energy, disrupt the building’s main features minimally, and be easy to install.
If your thermal envelope includes your basement, it gets cold and hot air from the HVAC system you install. You can reduce the use of energy with vents and walls and insulating floors. However, if the basement is not a part of your thermal envelope, it is recommended that you insulate between the joists’ floor.
Make sure you use wall insulation all around your building. This is because it will help boost thermal efficiency even though it can also destroy some historical designs and features. To ensure maximum protection for the house’s historical features, create wall cavities and install blown-in insulation in it. You should only go for this option if the basement and roofs are insulated well enough, and you carry out an analysis to confirm that the most cost-effective thing is cost-effective.
6. Use one system for heating and cooling.
The air conditioner and heat pump both operate on the same principle, called the refrigeration cycle. The difference is that heat pumps work in reverse. It takes in heat from a cold outdoor environment which is then used for water and space heating. Additionally, these heat pumps can be reversible, i.e., they can consolidate cooling and heating into just one piece of equipment.
Making this upgrade to heat pumps will cause an improvement in the efficiency of energy. When you want to compare models for heat pump, the two essential things to look out for are:
- Performance factor for seasonal heating (HSPF). This concept works when the equipment works for heat.
- Performance factor for seasonal efficiency ratio (SEER). This shows the ratio between energy input and cooling output for cooling seasons.
Both HSPF and SEER are ratios relating to watt-hours and the British Thermal Units (BTUs). A high value for these ratios means that energy consumption will be low. This also implies that in order to meet up with particular heating or cooling load, the system will require much less energy. For instance, if an AC has a value of 20 for SEER, it will only need 50% of the energy that an AC with a SEER value of 10 will use while giving the same output.
MEP engineering isn’t straightforward or easy work. It takes a whole lot to set up all necessary equipment in a house within set rules. Also critical is the need to save space in every project. However, MEP engineering is an essential part of every design and should be properly done.