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Integrated IAQ Design
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Integratred IAQ Design

Integrated design is the consideration and design of all building systems and components together. It draws from all disciplines involved in designing a building and reviews their recommendations as a whole. It recognizes that each discipline's recommendations have an impact on other aspects of the building project.  For example, HVAC systems are too often designed independently of lighting systems and lighting systems are designed without consideration of day-lighting opportunities. The architect, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, contractors, and other team members each have their scope of work and often pursue it without adequate communication and interaction with other team members. This can result in oversized systems or systems that are optimized for non-typical conditions.

Even a small degree of integration provides some benefits. It allows professionals to take advantage of efficiencies that are not apparent when they are working in isolation. It can point out areas where trade-offs can be implemented to enhance resource efficiency. Design integration is also the best way to avoid redundancy or conflicts with aspects of the building project planned by others. This approach allows for optimization of both building performance and cost.

The earlier that integration is introduced in the design process, the greater the benefit. For a high performance school, project team collaboration and integration of design choices should begin no later than the programming phase. In addition, the project team is likely to be more broadly defined than in the past, and may include energy analysts, materials consultants, lighting designers, life cycle cost consultants and commissioning agents.