These structures include houses of worship, auditoriums, gymnasiums, theaters, concert halls, and indoor pools (swimming centers). Sports arenas, convention and exhibition centers, and other hospitality and entertainment facilities also fall into this category. Rules and guides set by regulatory agencies can have a major impact on these energy systems.
Some of the common characteristics for these buildings include:
- Large spaces with relatively high ceilings, with air stratification included in the design.
- Periodic high occupancy density per sq ft of floor area, with the resultant low design sensible heat ratio.
- Relatively few air changes per hour since the space volume per person is usually high.
- Ventilation requirements are a major total load contributor, so the buildings should be kept at a slightly positive pressure to offset infiltration and provide adequate or the regulatory-required ventilation.
- Lighting loads will vary widely by type of building, ranging from very high in convention halls to very low in theaters during performances. The light levels associated with maximum occupancy must be determined.
- Noise and vibration criteria vary by building type, being minimal in convention and sports centers to very important in concert halls.
- Filtration is usually minimal, except where there is expensive indoor decor or smoking is permitted.
- Human comfort is the primary determinant for design inside temperature and humidity. This varies by building type, depending on whether the occupants are informally dressed (such as in sports arenas and some movie theaters), continually walking (as in exhibition centers), or wearing warm clothes (as in ice rinks).
- Generally served by all-air systems, with separate air handlers for each zone. Variable air volume (VAV) types are often used.
- Precooling the space several hours before use absorbs a portion of the peak load and allows smaller equipment to meet short-duration (up to 2-hours) peak loads.
- Good air distribution is essential for a successful design. Cool air is usually supplied from above where the heat from the lights can be directly absorbed and return air is often below or around the seating. Jet nozzles can be used where long throws are needed in high ceilings. A certain amount of exhaust air may also be taken from the ceiling area to prevent an overhead hot air pocket that can have a radiant effect and cause discomfort.
- Heating is seldom a major factor in the design, except at entrances and during the pre-occupancy warm-up.
- Mechanical rooms should be separated from the main areas, using lobbies and service areas as buffers to keep the noise from reaching the audience areas. Some roof top equipment is usually needed to house toilet, kitchen and general exhausts, and the cooling tower but these should be located over office or store rooms; not over occupied areas.