by Kevin Dow, Commissioning Agent
photo courtesy of THA and HDR
The University of Oregon (UO) has long been committed to sustainable building at their campus in Eugene, OR. Glumac has been involved in a number of UO projects over the years, most recently the Matthew Knight Arena - one of the few LEED Gold-designed sports arenas in the nation - and the Lewis Integrative Science Building (LISB).
The LISB is a 100,000 sf, five-story, $65 million project, which includes both laboratory and office space. It is situated on the north side of the UO campus, and is slated to open in the Fall of 2012. The building is anticipated to achieve LEED Platinum certification, something quite difficult for most energy-intensive laboratories. However, with the help of Glumac's Energy Analysis and Commissioning services, along with design by THA and HDR, the project is well on track to achieving its energy efficiency goals.
Glumac was selected to provide both energy and commissioning services, as UO saw that an integrated team was critical to creating an energy efficient building. Our process helped the broader design team create a building that would meet project goals and requirements.
The Energy group's role on the project included assisting the design team in evaluation of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs), developing an energy model per Oregon State Energy Efficiency Design (SEED) requirements, and developing a Measurement & Verification Plan to track building energy use. The project is currently in line to perform 45% better than base building code, a major accomplishment considering the large amount of exhaust air required to operate laboratory fume hoods and to mitigate chemicals used in the lab spaces.
Numerous ECMs were evaluated and selected for incorporation into the building design. These ECMs are found in virtually every building system, including the building envelope, HVAC systems, domestic water systems and lighting systems. Some of the more innovative measures include:
The campus utility tunnel heat reclaim system was developed with the knowledge that the utility tunnels on campus are kept warm, due to the steam piping routed in the tunnels used for heating the campus buildings. The heat emitted from the steam piping keeps the tunnel 85°F to 100 °F year round. Glumac suggested collecting this heat for use in the hydronic reheat system at the variable air volume (VAV) terminal units in the LISB. We would accomplish this by installing an air-to-water heat pump adjacent to the utility tunnel at the basement level. The heat pump functions by taking in air from the tunnel, mechanically cooling it, and exhausting it to the atmosphere. On the condenser side of the heat pump, water from the building heating loop is pumped through the condenser which allows it to be heated to 140 °F. See Figure 1.
Figure 1: Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle
Another ECM that will significantly reduce the building's energy use is lab exhaust heat recovery. Since the labs are served by 100% outside air, used only once before being exhausted, we suggested recovering the heat from the exhaust air by using a heat pipe heat recovery module (HRM). The HRM uses a heat pipe to transfer the collected heat from the exhaust air stream to the incoming air stream with no pumps; the flow in the coil is accomplished due to the temperature differential and the convective thermal process.
Glumac's Commissioning Group also had a key role in delivering a quality final product to the university. Our role not only involved confirming that all ECMs were installed per the owner's project requirements (OPR), but also that all MEP systems were installed and are functioning as intended and as efficiently as possible. Our commissioning process began in the Design Phase of the project and will conclude with a review of the systems ten months post occupancy.
During the Design Phase, Glumac assembled an experienced team of Commissioning Authorities and Agents, Design Engineers, and Energy Analysts. This team came together to review design documents and provide constructive feedback to the design team regarding sustainability, constructability and functionality. Our integrated team was able to provide recommendations beyond what most other Commissioning Agents can provide on their own. Our process helps identify as many issues as possible early on in design, so that impact to construction costs and schedule are minimized. We also developed a detailed commissioning plan during the Design Phase, sharing it with the entire project team so that all members would understand their role in the overall commissioning process.
The Construction Phase included a detailed review of MEP equipment submittals and construction site observations, again in efforts to identify potential issues and their solutions as soon as possible. During this phase, Glumac's commissioning team identified equipment access and maintenance issues, passing along the results to the contractor and UO so that all issues could be resolved prior to having an impact on the construction schedule.
During the Commissioning/Testing Phase, our commissioning team performed equipment start-up and prefunctional check-out, as well as functional testing of all equipment and systems. The testing process at LISB presented some unique challenges, due to a large portion of the building being dedicated to laboratory space. Labs have complex control sequences for pressure relationships to adjacent spaces, unlike offices or classrooms. Our team's extensive experience with direct digital control (DDC) systems came in handy in the functional testing of the many complex and interrelated systems at LISB. Our team worked hard to make sure that all systems were functioning optimally, so that the high expectations set by UO in regards to energy performance would be met.
Glumac's integrated energy and commissioning team, working in association with the project design team, was pleased to provide UO with solutions to meet the stringent requirements laid out with the LISB project. We eagerly await collecting performance data in the coming months to see if there are further improvements we can make, and look forward to the building receiving its LEED Platinum certification.