CRANSTON, R.I. — The Taco Innovation and Development Center (IDC), which opened in mid-2012, has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The 24,037-square-foot facility, which houses classrooms and meeting space for hydronic training and educational purposes, achieved 62 points out of a total of 79 possible points for LEED Gold.

The Taco IDC, in addition to its instructional/educational focus for both Taco employees and HVAC industry professionals who visit the facility, was designed to be a showcase for energy saving and sustainable products and systems, which are visible throughout the building for viewing, hands-on learning, and teaching.

Products and systems installed in the IDC include chilled beams (active and passive), radiant ceiling heating and cooling, fan coils, water-source heat pumps, perimeter radiation, radiant floor heating, solar hot water, radiant snow melt, and geothermal. The mechanical design goal was to optimize hydronic-side design and remove/add as much heat as possible using chilled beams, flat-panel radiation along the IDC’s walls, and radiant floor systems. All equipment and systems are controlled by Taco’s proprietary iWorx Web-based building management product line and monitored by a number of sensors and meters throughout the building.

The performance of the mechanical and electrical systems is monitored continuously via dedicated measurement and verification systems. Since the building was completed, several new measurement stations were added including hydronic Btu metering systems, electrical sub-meters, and building automation monitoring systems. These measurement systems have allowed Taco to monitor energy consumption in real-time and compare those actual energy measurements against the initial energy model. All indications are that the building is meeting or exceeding the projected energy savings.

For example, during the period from Sept. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014, the building consumed 126,290 KBtu from the hot water heating system or approximately 150,345 KBtu of natural gas at 84 percent boiler efficiency. Taco estimates that this is approximately 75 percent of the annual gas consumption for heating Btu. Natural gas consumption projected for an entire year is approximately 200,460 KBtu. The energy model predicted that the building would consume 296,900 KBtu annually. The actual consumption is estimated at 67.5 percent of the projected consumption. These numbers will be refined as more data is collected.

In considering its LEED application, Taco said its objective was always to implement a system approach to achieving energy efficiency rather than chase individual LEED points. The company wanted to design the most efficient building possible and see how the design translated into LEED points.

At the time of construction, project manager Chris Integlia, Taco’s executive vice president, said, “Our approach to this project has always been to have LEED certification as a public validation of the efforts we’ve put into the project, and as a confirmation that our products and technologies will help not only Taco but others in our industry achieve highly sustainable green buildings.”

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Publication date: 2/2/2015

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