How-To Guide To Selecting Your Rooftop Mounted Mechatronic Equipment Screening
This guide provides a step-by-step process to help you decide when you might need roof-mounted mechanical equipment screening. If you require rooftop-mounted architectural screening, this guide can assist with the design and selection process.
Mechanical equipment can include any device supporting heating, cooling, and waste management as well as water supply, electricity, and other related functions. These include compressors and chillers, HVAC, compactors, breakers, Meters, generators, containers. Because this equipment is situated on a rooftop it is more at risk from wind damage and is often directly in the line of sight of pedestrians.
Rooftop mechanical equipment screening requires a building permit. It will also require community approval for it to match the building envelope and area. You can contact your local city planning office and building inspector for all the details. A set of drawings drawn by an architect is used to accompany a building permit. These drawings must comply with the community’s guidelines and appearance standards for rooftop mechanical screening. The community should establish guidelines to ensure material selection is consistent with the design of the community as well as surrounding buildings and public view considerations.
Consider the following for rooftop-mounted equipment screens:
Material And Scale Of The Building Envelope: The rooftop screening must be compatible with the existing structure, color, and style of the building envelope. Example: If the roof lines are vertical consider vertical slats/vertical louvers.
Line Of Sight: Consider how you can view the screen from all possible vantage points when designing a rooftop equipment screen. The screening may not be necessary if the equipment is not visible from any point. This situation is where equipment might require protection. But, you should consider the wind load. If the building is situated near an elevated building or road, a designer might consider a rooftop screen that has a roof and/or overhang. You can consult your local code regarding this matter.
The Mechanical Equipment Being Screened: When designing roof-mounted mechanical equipment screening, you should take into consideration the equipment and its use. Because of space and height constraints, screening rooftop equipment may not always be possible. To comply with local appearance standards, the equipment may need painting. Some stacks are required to reach recommended ventilation heights. In these cases, stacks can also be framed with materials to match the building envelope.
Structural Considerations: The project’s location conditions should be used to calculate wind load. Structural engineering can provide a set of stamped drawings, performance, and calculation data regarding wind loads.
Visibility Can Be Either Good Or Bad: rooftop mechanical equipment screening may be modified to achieve the level of visibility desired or required by local codes. The most common roof-mounted mechanical equipment screen design is the louvered panel. This allows for 100% or even 80% visual screening from the direct view.
Degree Of Openness: This is directly related to visibility and direct vision screening. The open space between louvers and holes is what determines the degree of openness. Over a particular range, the area between infill elements will determine how much air can travel. The rooftop mechanical equipment will usually have a maximum amount of free space. You might also need to ensure that there is enough air flow by community guidelines.
Infill Design & Selection: There is a wide range of options for infilling rooftop mechanical equipment screening to meet community appearance standards.
The information provided above will help you evaluate the needs of your mechanical equipment screen. Next, the designers will look at the materials and products they can use to create their rooftop mechanical equipment screens.