The Wayne L. Morse U.S. Federal Courthouse is performing at 47% below ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999
by David Summers, P.E., LEED AP and James Thomas, P.E., LEED AP
The Wayne L. Morse U.S. Federal Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, uses 45.0 kBtu/sf/yr, which is 14% lower than predicted in the original energy model calculation.
The 267,000 sf Wayne L. Morse Federal Courthouse, completed in August 2006, provides six courtrooms plus support and administrative areas for the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit. The lower floors are a two-story glass podium containing the administrative departments. Three sweeping curved metal and glass façade pods, housing six courtrooms and judges’ chambers, are connected by a central atrium. The building was the first U.S. Federal Courthouse to achieve LEED Gold certification.
The following notable sustainable features are incorporated into the building’s MEP systems:
Underfloor air distribution throughout the building
Hydronic radiant floor system for heating and cooling in the main lobby and perimeter circulation areas
Nighttime economizer cooling using the underfloor air system to pre-cool the building mass
Waterside economizer for free cooling of 24/7 server rooms in winter
- Waterless urnials
As part of the project’s LEED Gold certification under LEED 2.1, the Courthouse achieved 10 LEED points for EA credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance. The energy model calculation showed 38.4% energy savings as compared to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999. This was equivalent to a predicted building energy use of 52.5 kBtu/sf/yr.
Based on the most recent energy use data from January 2010, the building has an actual Energy Use Index (EUI) of 45.0 kBtu/sf/yr. These numbers include all electricity and natural gas use for the building based on metered data from the building management system (BMS). Actual building energy use is 14% better than predicted by the energy model, or 47% savings as compared to ASHRAE 90.1-1999.
Commissioning and frequent follow-up played a key role in achieving these energy results. Glumac’s commissioning team pressure-tested every single underfloor air plenum to reduce air leakage to the GSA’s acceptable leakage criteria, which were developed by Glumac for this project. Glumac’s engineering and commissioning teams have continued to work with the GSA during the past few years to refine the chiller plant control sequences and optimize energy performance.
A Focus on Collaboration
Many of the successes of the Wayne L. Morse Courthouse project have been due to the project team collaboration.
“The contracting strategy and approach was designed to optimize value for the US taxpayer. The strategy was based on several axioms. First, that there are never enough resources to do everything that needs to be done. Second, that teamwork creates synergy or manufactures additional resources. And third, teams succeed as teams, not as individuals. Contract placement and administration focused on assigning scope based on proven strengths and skills, then deference was provided to those tasked with executing that scope. If desired outcomes weren’t achieved, the whole team contributed to analyzing root cause and formulating potential corrective action, not fault finding. In the end, the strategy tried to create relationships that ensured decision making consistently focused on what was best for the project.” -Pat Brunner, General Services Administration
Glumac provided engineering services, sustainable design consultation, energy modeling services and building commissioning for this project. Morphosis and DLR Group provided architectural design services, and JE Dunn was the general contractor.