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The Interior Design Reference & Specification Book by Mimi Love, Chris Grimley, Linda O'Shea

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THE INTERIOR DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
Text
Chapter 15: Invisible Systems
The intangible comforts of a room, including temperature, air quality, and humid-
ity, are taken for granted if successfully designed, but become the source of many
complaints if they prove inadequate or off-kilter. In addition, the paraphernalia of
comfort—diffusers, grilles, thermostats, lights, receptaclescan easily obtrude on
a space with their ubiquitous off-the-shelf character. Given these challenges, it is
important for designers to select the best mechanical and electrical engineers and
to begin coordination early in the design process.
Central to a successful interior design project is a full accounting of all the accou-
trements of control for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. Designers
must incorporate light switches, receptacles, and vents in the earliest interior el-
evations. Once accounted for and drawn, it will be far easier to find smart solutions
for making these everyday elements less obtrusive. The mechanical diffuser, for
instance, can provoke an entire ceiling design concept, with linear diffusers hidden
away in the offset between two ceiling planes, and thus define the character of the
space.
THE BASICS OF BUILDING SYSTEMS
Basic building systems include heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC); electrical; and plumbing
systems. Other systems like re protection and security are not discussed here, but should
also be considered when designing a room. Engineers are responsible for designing the
building systems, while architects and designers coordinate the integration of the systems.
Consequently, designers need to have a conceptual understanding of the full range of building
systems. For example, the light xtures, supply and return diffusers, life-safety devices, and
such are located on a reected ceiling plan and coordinated with the engineering drawings by
the designer.
Ducted-Air Systems
Various types of
are described below.
Single Zone System
Multizone System
Single-Duct Reheat
System
Variable Air Volume
(VAV) System
Locating Diffusers
Air
design of the space, the ducts can be exposed or concealed above a dropped ceiling. None-
theless, diffusers should be positioned evenly and close to the perimeter wall where either
heat gain or loss is of most concern. Since warm air rises, the supply air is typically mounted
in the ceiling or high on a wall. Return air draws warm and stale air from a room and should be
located away from the supply air. Return-air diffusers, registers, and grilles can be positioned
on ceilings, walls, or oors.
MECHANICAL SYSTEMS
Thermal comfort can be provided by air, water, or electricity, each option having advantages
or disadvantages for a particular situation. Ducted-air systems can provide both heating and
cooling. Hydronic systems are economical for heating, but are not ideal for cooling. Electrical
systems are very expensive to operate, but do not entail a lot of equipment.
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