As experienced designers of Dallas/Fort Worth K-12 projects, RWB offered many design options for Midlothian Heritage High School. MEP designs are not created equal. School districts must focus on features that are most important to them. Some of the variables include:
- Initial cost
- Ongoing operational costs
- Maintenance requirements
- Sound levels
RWB sought out system cost and efficiency data MEP designs in other school districts. We gave consideration to three system designs: Rooftop units (RTUs); four-pipe chilled and hot water systems; and a geothermal system. The design team narrowed down the options to two systems; 4-pipe and geothermal.
We compared the two design approaches on three items. 1) system efficiency, 2) installation cost, and 3) maintenance cost. This detailed analysis included items that are commonly overlooked. Some examples include an annual maintenance contract, water usage, and chemical usage costs. These costs vary depending on the system type so it is important to include them in analysis.
RWB compiled and presented the findings to the design team. The full design team included the architect, facilities team, and school board. In the end, the team decided on a geothermal system.