Emerald Ridge Elementary School


Emerald Ridge Elementary School is a new school in White City, Saskatchewan, that is touted to be “at the forefront of 21st century education design” [Principal of school].  To engineers, occupant comfort, efficient and low maintenance operations are paramount to 21st century design, and this facility reflects both.

Service completion: Fall 2014
Scope of services: Enhanced and Fundamental Commissioning (EAp1, EAc3) for CaGBC LEED: New Construction 2009
Size: $22,000,000 construction budget, 63,000 sq.ft.
Building systems: VAV system with radiant in-floor heating, fed by condensing boiler and cooling by direct expansion coils on air handling units.

Few facilities are as important in a small community as a school.  In the growing suburb of Regina, White City/Emerald Park is no exception and Thurston Engineering Services recognized this.  Commissioning activities resulted in construction change order cost savings and in quickest resolution of issues for the school division so that they could open happily and on time in the new school year, all while demonstrating a green example for its community with its seeking LEED Silver designation.

In Enhanced Commissioning, change orders were avoided with detailed editing of the legally-binding design documents (drawings and specification): discrepancies between mechanical and electrical schedules as mechanical design changes were not reflected in electrical design; incomplete sequences, reset schedules, flow schedules, and missing defrost cycle on heat recovery unit; incorrect Section referencing and missing Sections in specification.

In Fundamental Commissioning, there were installation issues such as ductwork with greater than 90deg bend restricting flow to VAVs.  With thermography, too low flow was found in some in-floor heating zones, resulting in no heating capacity.

With the flooding being an increasing issue in the area, sump pumps are essential: commissioning found that only 1/5 of sump pumps in crawlspace had an operating high level alarm working such that in a heavy rain, no alarms would delay detection of a problem until it was too late.  Finally, it was found that the programmed controls were not in accordance with the mechanical designer’s sequences; rather than issue a long report of deficiencies for the controls contractor to fix, Thurston Engineering Services facilitated a collaboration of the mechanical team and controls team to discuss which variances were acceptable such that the action items were reduced from 6 pages to only a dozen items.  The facility opened to an excited community of students, staff and parents in Fall 2014.

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