Changeair Air Handler Series Provides Indoor Ventilation for K-8 School

Historic Elementary School received an update to go green with Changeair Freshman Series Air Handlers

Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School

Systemair provided 16 Changeair Series Vertical Unit Ventilators (VUVs) to help this 80-year-old school improve the indoor air quality for K-8 students and faculty.

Maintaining Architectural Integrity

Built in 1931, this school required some big updates to address the increased demand on the school's aging facility

Options Aplenty

The project required a wide range of accessory components to allow for customized installation within the various applications.

Mechanical Contractor

SSM Industries

Design & Engineer

CJL Engineering


Going Green

The Fanny Edel Falk Laboratory School sits across from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1931, the school was a gift to the University of Pittsburgh from Leon Falk Jr. and his sister, Marjorie Falk Levy, in honor of their mother, Fanny Edel Falk.

It is the only American laboratory school to have a legal charter that stipulates its purpose and function. The original charter designated the school as a progressive and experimental school for demonstration purposes. In 1946, the charter was amended to include practice teaching as one of the school’s functions.

In 2009, the Falk Laboratory School underwent a $21.1 million expansion and renovation project to address the increased demand on the school’s aging facility.

The renovation project included a 39,000 sf addition to the existing 27,000 sf building and featured several green building components. The renovation would allow the school to increase the school’s enrollment of 310 to 403 students by 2012.

The primary challenge? How to maintain the architectural integrity of the historic building during the renovation, while furnishing it with the latest green technologies.

Keeping History Intact

The challenges of renovating an historical building required Systemair to provide close coordination with the installing mechanical contractor, SSM Industries, and the design engineer, CJL Engineering, to ensure that the correct accessory components were supplied to allow for customized installation within the various applications. The design also called for a custom black powder coat paint finish.

One of the green components of the school’s renovations included updating the HVAC system in the school. Most rooms were equipped with air-exchange systems that draw cool air into the building and push warm air out. This included installing 16 Changeair Freshman Vertical Unit Ventilators in each classroom.

A few specialty classrooms also received Changeair Series units with self contained DX cooling.

All the Changeair ventilator units were tied together through a BACNet control system to automate the VUVs and provide energy-efficient HVAC systems.