Everything is Open at Albany

Albany Senior High School is located in North Harbour, Auckland. It is a very modern, cutting edge school which embraces the concept of ‘open’ in many aspects.

From the teaching style to the very construction of the buildings, ‘open’ is the key at Albany. As a Senior High the students in Years 11, 12 and 13 are treated as adults, forging open collaborative relationships with their teachers. Most classes take place in large open plan areas called 'Learning Commons'. These Commons are essentially large open squares with enough space for four to five classes to be run next to each other, giving the teachers the flexibility to combine classes. With a series of smaller rooms around the outside of the Commons, the needs of the school presented some challenges in terms of their construction.

Contractor 1st Mechanical was faced with the challenge of supplying conditioned air to all the Commons, while being aware to the impact any additional noise would have on the open spaces. The specialists in commercial, large retail and process environmental control installations had some ideas and contacted Mike Vlug, temperzone New Zealand’s senior refrigeration engineer.

Together Mike and 1st Mechanical were able to develop the perfect solution. 1st Mechanical and temperzone have had a long term successful custom design implementation for the Mega Mitre10 stores throughout the country. Based on this confidence in the design performance of the temperzone custom built equipment, they ordered the manufacture of several special Custom Built Rooftop Packaged Air conditioners that would give the schools the flexibility of air conditioning the open Learning Commons, including the side rooms, while keeping the noise to a minimum.

A total cooling duty of 1100 kW was required, which was supplied by a total of nine multi compressor custom built special roof top packaged air conditioning of the temperzone PA-range. The smallest 3 compressor PA3101 had 85kW duty while the PA4900 was the largest unit with four compressors supplying 194kW. Only one of the units was a traditionally standard PA3601 with fixed speed compressors and belt drive forward curved fans.

Due to the fact that this school was close to a busy road and no windows could be opened, the packaged units had to introduce the fresh air requirements via damper economisers in summer and winter as well as not transmitting the environmental noise into the building. The latter was achieved by lining both the return and supply air sections of the units with 25mm perforated foil high density Autex acoustic “Quiet Stuf” insulation.

The essence of the building climate regulation was to ensure total control of the airflow and capacity of the units to a supply air temperature and pressure.

The PA units were fitted with highly efficient Electronically Commutated (EC) motor backward curved plug fans which can be simply speed controlled with a 0-10 Volt dc signal.

By replacing one of the compressors with a Copeland Digital Scroll compressor, the capacity can be varied from 3% to 100% again by a 0-10 Vdc signal. This type of capacity control pioneered by temperzone, far exceeds the range of any invertor unit on the market.

The electronic expansion valves (EEV) fitted in the refrigeration system guarantees the efficient and reliable operation of the PA units.

The design of the PA range is symmetrical thus making it a simple task to supply the PA3101, PA3601, PA 3801, PA4600, and PA 4900 with both standard hand and opposite hand versions, various orientations of fresh air economiser positions, all with bottom return and supply.

Since completion, both the ‘open’ style Learning Commons and the school are proving to be a huge success.

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