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Improving Ventilation and Saving Energy

Exterior of a row of Relocatable Classrooms

Relocatable classrooms (more commonly known as portable or mobile classrooms) are in wide use in California schools. They allow school districts to quickly and economically adapt and expand their schools’ infrastructure to accommodate the ever-changing student populations. In 2000 there were an estimated 80,000 relocatable classrooms (RCs) in use within California schools with a projected increase of 4,000 new units per year (CARB/CDHS 2003, EdSource 1998, Sarich 2001). A joint study conducted by the California Air Resources Board and the California Department of Health Services (CARB/CDHS 2003) from 2000-2002, focusing on the indoor environments of schools, found that ventilation rates and indoor environmental comfort in RCs were often below current standards and in need of improvement.

To this end the Improving Ventilation and Saving Energy (IVSE) study aims to develop, evaluate, and demonstrate a practical Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system for use in RCs in schools. The IVSE study is a collaborative effort between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Bard Manufacturing Company, a leading manufacturer of wall mounted HVAC systems for RCs, and Geary Pacific Supply Corporation, the West Coast distributor of Bard HVAC equipment. The goals of the HVAC system under development and testing are to provide consistent ventilation to RCs while simultaneously reducing overall energy consumption and HVAC related noise.

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