Let’s open a few windows

248 of them, to be exact

The Terry Thomas design team has been waiting for this initial string of 80+ degrees days for almost four years. Thousands of hours of work has gone into the design and making of this building. How will the building perform? With 20+ of our team participating in Bike to Work Day, the pressure was on for a cool and comfortable destination. Friday was the first test of the passive cooling system/design. King 5 cameras even knocked on our door to document the occasion.

Our mechanical engineers, Stantec Consulting, gave us a pretty good idea of how our system would handle the heat. Stantec’s extensive thermal modeling indicates that the inside air temperatures will be 75 to 80 degrees for 150 hours annually, 80 to 85 degrees for 50 hours annually and in excess of 85 degrees for 20 hours annually.

The building’s hydronic heating system (convection hot-water radiators on the perimeter) is still set on winter mode, at 68 degrees, and will remain on through mid-June. Because of this, leaving the windows open through the night to purge the warm air is not an option.

Stantec’s Tom Marsielle suggested that we open windows in the morning, either a little or a lot, as deemed necessary by occupants. Tom said the manually operable windows alone should create plenty of cross-ventilation, and then, maybe around noon when the temperature rises to the mid-70s, we could start shutting windows.

Tom was absolutely right. The building was cool and comfortable. A slight northerly breeze consistently moved air through the space most of the day and into the early evening. The interior temperatures peaked at around 75 degrees on Friday and 78 degrees on Saturday, without the exterior louvers operational.  The Saturday reading was with the windows closed, as few were in the office.

What about July and August? We say bring it on! We are ready even if “shorts and flip-flops” may be the fashion statement for a few days.

Credit for passing this first test goes to the entire Terry Thomas Building team. Congratulations to Elzbieta Zielinska, Steve Price, Gabe Hanson, Heidi Fahy, Jeff Dobbs, Kristen Scott, Mina Ghanaie and Peter Greaves.

-Scott Thompson AIA, LEED AP, Principal in Charge of The Terry Thomas

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