Simultaneous Energy Savings and IEQ Improvements in Relocatable Classrooms

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Relocatable classrooms (RCs) are commonly used by school districts with changing demographics and enrollment sizes. We designed and constructed four energy-efficient RCs for this study to demonstrate technologies with the potential to simultaneously improve energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Two were installed at each of two school districts, and energy use and IEQ parameters were monitored during occupancy. Two RCs (one per school) were finished with materials selected for reduced emissions of toxic and odorous volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Each had two HVAC systems, operated on alternate weeks, consisting of a standard heat-pump system and an indirect-direct evaporative cooling (IDEC) system with gas-fired hydronic heating. The IDEC system provides continuous outside air ventilation at "15 CFM (7.5 L s-1) person-1, efficient particle filtration while using significantly less energy for cooling. School year long measurements included: carbon dioxide (CO2), particles, VOCs, temperature, humidity, thermal comfort, noise, meteorology, and energy use. IEQ monitoring results indicate that important ventilation-relevant indoor CO2 and health-relevant VOC concentration reductions were achieved while average cooling and heating energy costs were simultaneously reduced by 50% and 30%, respectively.

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