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Simple Green

Nov 9, 2009 10:42 AM, By Trevor Boyer

The Orlando Utilities Commission needed simple, smart AV that could adapt to LEED-driven construction.

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In the commission chambers, a standalone AMX tabletop touchpanel was installed so that someone not at the podium could adjust mic levels and perform other control tasks.

A network-connected Tascam HD-R1 device records the public meetings and makes the audio files available to transcribers immediately following. The transcribers, who post the record of the meetings on the OUC’s public website, can access the MP3 files over the building’s IP network.

The commission chambers, like the building’s training rooms, has a smart podium that’s controlled by a Hitachi StarBoard T-17SXL touchscreen , which in turn is tied to the building’s AMX control system. From this podium, a user can control the room’s video system, which links a serial-controlled Integra DPC 7.7 DVD player and computer video sources to the room’s two 47in. LG 47LG50DC flatpanel displays and a Sanyo projector.

The majority of the rooms for which Teer Engineering specified gear are used as breakout rooms for small teams of employees within the building. They’re not used by the public or as training rooms; instead, they host simple computer presentations. As such, they required a very simple audiovisual setup. An LG plasma or LCD TV is mounted to the wall in each room. VGA wiring connects this screen to the room’s table, which has inputs for a laptop display. (Of the 20 smaller rooms, five have 50in. 50PC5DC screens; another five have 32in. 32LG30DC LCD screens. Four smaller rooms received 42in. 42LG30DC screens, and eight got 47in. 47LG50DC sets.) For the training rooms and for the commission chambers, Teer Engineering specified Sanyo PLC-XT35 projectors.

Installing around LEED

When Teer Engineering hangs projectors and heavy screens from ceilings, it’s usually a simple matter. “Most commercial construction, you’d have a ceiling grid,” Teer says, “and then above it, you’d have some type of joist or roof structure that’s holding the roof. And normally we’d use some type of channel steel and some rigging and hang it that way, with all thread [rod] and so forth.” Reliable Plaza’s design does not facilitate the typical hanging of heavy equipment. That stems from the air-conditioning vents being installed in the raised floor—a major component of the building’s LEED-friendly energy-saving design.

“We had no option but literally to drill up into the concrete from the floor above and use what we call mini drop-in fasteners,” Teer says. That concrete is pretensioned by a grid of steel cables. The integration firm was prohibited from drilling deeper than 3/4in. into the concrete to ensure that it would avoid snapping a structural steel cable. “It was challenging finding fasteners that would only go 3/4in. deep yet would hold the weight that we needed and wouldn’t pull out,” he says.

The Powers Fasteners mini drop-in fasteners fit the bill; the next trick was getting the fasteners into the pretensioned concrete. Teer Engineering modified the tip of a Sears Craftsman air hammer so that it would fit the fastener and pound it into the concrete.

The raised flooring has made one aspect of the job easier for Teer Engineering. “As we’ve come back to add additional features, all we’ve had to do is pop up some carpet tiles,” says Al Sheppard, project manager/programmer. “I can literally take one of my small installers and send him under the floor.” The flooring is raised 18in. above the concrete slab, and that’s made it easier to run wires for the additional AMX control panel that the firm has installed since completing the initial installation.

Another aspect of LEED certification that complicated matters for Teer is the daylighting of the building. One goal of the Reliable Plaza design was to admit as much sunlight as possible during colder months, in order to lessen the burden on the building’s heating system. To that end, the three OUC training rooms and the commission chambers have southern exposures. (One training room has a western exposure as well.) The OUC’s IT department had requested a specific projector model, but it became apparent during the installation that these projectors wouldn’t overcome the ambient daylighting of the rooms. For these four rooms, Teer Engineering instead specified the Sanyo PLC-XT35 projectors, which are rated at 5000 ANSI lumens, compared to the initial suggested models’ 3300 lumens.

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