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Haworth TecCrete Access Flooring

Haworth manufactures TecCrete access flooring system and its components… Read more
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  • Before specifying efficient heating and cooling equipment, it’s important to do what we can to reduce heating and cooling loads. Insulation is one of the key products to consider here, but because there are so many insulation products on the market, we look for additional benefits. Examples include cellulose insulation with recycled content, mineral wool insulation with no flame retardants, and fiberglass insulation with no formaldehyde binders. Other products in this area are high-performance windows and glazings, products that contribute to building airtight envelopes, products that reduce thermal bridging, and window-retrofit products.

    With products in this area under constant development, we are always refining our approach. For example, as we have learned about insulation products with hazardous flame retardants and blowing agents that have high global warming potential, we have removed those products from GreenSpec, pending manufacturing changes. We encourage building professionals to pressure manufacturers for those changes through specification language and purchasing decisions.

  • Just how low the VOC level needs to be for a given product to qualify for inclusion in GreenSpec depends on the product category. For most products, we require certification to California’s health-based emissions standard, CDPH Std Method v1.1 standard (also referred to as California Section 01350), which tests a product’s resultant VOC concentrations in the space after a given period of time. For wet-applied products like paints, caulks, and adhesives, we still also look for VOC content instead of, or in addition to, verified low emissions; this is because emissions testing doesn’t adequately test initial offgassing, and VOC content is currently the only widely available proxy.

  • Once we’ve considered low-emitting products and those that prevent moisture problems, we also consider green ventilation products, filters, radon mitigation equipment, and other equipment and devices that help to remove pollutants or introduce fresh air. Because ventilation equipment is standard, we only recognize products that are particularly efficient or quiet or which have other benefits, such as heat recovery.

  • Included here are various erosion-control products, foundation products that eliminate the need for excavation, and exterior stains that result in lower VOC emissions into the atmosphere. Fluorescent lamp and ballast recyclers and low-mercury fluorescent lamps reduce environmental impacts during maintenance and disposal of luminaires.

Brent Ehrlich
Products Editor

Haworth manufactures TecCrete access flooring system and its components. TecCrete is a concrete and steel flooring system for wire and cable management, as well as air distribution that can be used without additional finish flooring or covering.

Underfloor air distribution (UFAD), originally used in data centers and computer rooms, is now highly valued for offices, schools, and other spaces. Because it is typically ductless, a UFAD system results in reduced costs and construction waste (compared with conventional overhead air distribution) in spaces with high churn rates. It is exceptionally quiet and individually adjustable. UFAD can also save energy—but only if it is designed, installed, and operated properly.

UFAD supplies air through a slightly pressurized underfloor plenum; this can reduce the amount of fan energy required to heat and cool the building core, but increased fan energy at the perimeter can offset those energy gains, especially in highly glazed buildings.

Plenum integrity is crucial to proper functioning of a UFAD system. Designers, contractors, and virtually all trades working on the building must treat the underfloor plenum like what it is: a duct, a cable conduit, a pipe chase, and an exterior wall. Building enclosure commissioning is advisable to help ensure proper design and workmanship.

Conventional overhead air distribution systems rely on intensive air mixing to ensure uniform temperature and humidity levels throughout the space, but UFAD systems take advantage of natural convection and stratification and are designed to condition only the occupied space—meaning building operators can choose higher cooling setpoints to achieve expected comfort levels. Overcooling is a common problem with these systems, however, compromising both comfort and potential energy savings.

Because the plenum is so large and may even have direct contact with the slab, gradual equalization of the air temperature with that of the plenum is inevitable. This so-called thermal decay is infamously difficult to model and plan for. Radiant products may be used in perimeter areas to help mitigate this issue.

GreenSpec lists access flooring products that facilitate effective, energy-efficient UFAD systems.

LEED Credits

EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance

EAp2: Minimum Energy Performance

EQc2: Increased Ventilation

EQp1: Minimum IAQ Performance

IEQc2: Increased Ventilation

IEQc2: Increased Ventlilation

IEQp1: Minimum IAQ Performance

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