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Chilled Beam Retrofit in the Rotary Building

Big Ten & Friends Mechanical and Energy Conference – Hosted by IUPUI

Eric Broemel, PE, CEM with co-presenter Holly Thomas, PE, IUPUI Energy Engineer

October 1, 2018

The presentation focused on the design and construction of the Rotary Building on the IUPUI campus. The building was recently renovated to accommodate the IU School of Medicine. Achieving LEED Silver certification, the renovation included the extensive reprogramming of the space, the addition of a central communicating stair, the improvement of the building envelope, as well as entirely new mechanical and electrical systems throughout the building.

Schmidt Associates received an ASHRAE Design Technology Award for this project. Through the submission process for the award, the actual energy usage of the building was recorded after construction was complete. It was discovered that the usage was significantly larger than predicted by the LEED energy model. Through follow up and further adjustment of the of the HVAC systems, Schmidt mechanical engineers worked alongside IUPUI staff.  Together they were able to correct the issues and bring the usage in line with expectations. The presentation highlighted the issues that were uncovered and the actions that were taken to resolve them.

Case Study: St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church

HVAC & Accessibility Renovation – St. Joan of Arc Sanctuary Project

In preparation for the Centennial Celebration in 2021, the Schmidt Associates team kicked off the first phase of the St. Joan of Arc Sanctuary Restoration Project in 2017. This phase included:

  • Updating/adding HVAC and electrical components
  • Making the sanctuary more ADA accessible
  • Adding a new bride room/cry room and a reconciliation room
  • Improving overall functionality of sanctuary spaces

As with many historic structures, this project came with it’s own unique set of challenges and solutions. But by the end of phase one, the church’s parish has been able to attend services comfortably year-round.

Learn more about this unique project:

 

Energy Rebates: Don’t Leave Money on the Table

When the electric grid was still in its infancy, electrical utility companies needed more people to use electricity to make a profit. They would therefore incentivize the purchase of electric vacuums, laundry machines, dish washers, water heaters, radiant floor heating systems, and so on. But in today’s world, we have so much electric demand that brownouts and blackouts have become increasingly common. As electric demand increases, modern utility companies find it more cost-effective to not build more and more power plants, but to incentivize energy efficiency – giving rise to energy rebates.

The goal of energy rebates is to save money while saving energy – incentivizing efficient equipment to the point that the equipment, when fully installed, costs the same as “standard” equipment. The efficient equipment then slashes your operational costs. According to a study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there is a lot of potential incentives based on consumption percentages.

energy rebates graphic

 

The incentives from rebate-worthy items can affect all areas of MEPT:

  • Mechanical – high-efficiency chillers, rooftop units, VRF systems, and building controls
  • Electrical – LED lighting, lighting controls, variable frequency drives
  • Plumbing – high-efficiency pumps and boilers
  • Energy-efficient data center servers and HVAC Kitchen equipment is also incentivized

The Process:

As an HVAC engineer on a project, the process for making sure a client gets the most efficient equipment in their space starts from the very beginning – designing with the equipment in mind. How do you know which type of equipment is best for the client, or how do you prioritize which equipment is most important if budget is tight? Here, we optimize the best systems with the client’s budget. Once the design is fully developed, we can choose which type of incentive is the best for the project – prescriptive or custom.

Prescriptive: application is submitted within a 90-day window of installation or project completion

Custom: pre-approval and energy savings calculations are required beforehand, and then once the project is approved, equipment is purchased and construction can begin. A  final application is required after completion which describes any changes to the project (and thus original calculations)

Just how much could you save?

  • Incentives on new construction usually equals approximately $0.40/sf
  • 72,000 sq. ft. elementary school, full lighting and HVAC upgrades, $36,500 prescriptive
  • New High School Performing Arts Center (theater, stage, lighting, HVAC in just this area), $4,500 custom incentive
  • 83,000 sq. ft. elementary school, $32,000 incentive custom

Schmidt Associates can help with energy rebates:

Sure, you can go through the rebate process yourself, but it can be a long and tedious one.

We can do it for clients in the fraction of the time, almost as if from muscle memory. We use our experience and internal software tools to streamline the process. The energy rebate money is available for owners, and Schmidt Associates can make the process cost-effective and painless. Contact us for help or further questions.

Designing Residence Halls Specifically for the Student

Integrating specific academic environments into four Ball State University Residence Halls was a key early design consideration for the combined $141+ million projects. There was an opportunity to create an interplay between pre-millennial student lifestyle, academic, and career interests while also optimizing for energy efficiency. By adding the latest technologies, new amenities, and flexible design elements into the residence halls, a new sense of camaraderie and function can be seen throughout.

Here’s a synopsis for each:

Botsford/Swinford Residence Hall – Emerging Media Center

Size: 164,000 square feet
Cost: $27,800,000

  • Audio and video production studios
  • New lounge spaces
  • Demonstration kitchen—enables guest chefs to demonstrate food skills including healthy eating and unique cooking styles
  • Original structure was demolished to its concrete frame and foundation
  • It was designed for LEED Silver certification and received LEED Gold certification.

Botsford/Swinford

 

Schmidt/Wilson Residence Hall – A Living-Learning Community for Dance, Theatre, and Design Students

Size: 154,000 square feet
Cost: $33,000,000

  • Two-story lounge spaces and central lounge with a performance area
  • Dance studio, black box theatre, computer lab, fitness room, and drawing room
  • Strong sense of collaboration and camaraderie
  • The new facility re-images the entry into campus where students are center stage
  • Currently in review for LEED certification.

Schmidt/Wilson

 

Studebaker East Residence Hall – Creating A Home-Away-From-Home For International Students

Size: 109,750 square feet
Cost: $18,450,000

  • Student collaboration is enhanced through a new multi-purpose room and three two-story lounge spaces
  • Lounges are equipped with kitchens so students can share cultural foods
  • Provided a sense of community for present and future students
  • New highly-efficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology systems throughout the building resulted in LEED Gold Certification.

Studebaker East

 

DeHority Residence Complex – Collaborative Spaces for Honors College Students

Size: 131,070 square feet
Cost: $21,920,000

  • Integrating social, learning, and living space so dedicated honor students can combine interests and ambitions
  • Semi-private restrooms with lockers. Each room has stackable furniture and adjustable wardrobe closets
  • Students can take advantage of the exhibition hall for meetings and presentations
  • Ball State’s first LEED Silver certified building on campus.

DeHority

 

New Residence Hall 1 – Construction is underway for the third living/learning community developed from the North Campus Master Plan.

Size: 137,700 square feet
Cost: $43,600,000

  • Built for S.T.M. students and equipped with a makerspace, fabrication lab with 3D printing capabilities, and a virtual reality pod.
  • New campus neighborhood
  • Living/Learning Community
  • Site amenities include a fire pit and hammocks
  • LEED Certification anticipated
BSU-NewResHall1

New Residence Hall 1

 

Like what we did? Need someone for your next project? Let’s Talk!

 

Optimization: Saving Energy and Money

Today’s HVAC systems have the technology to perform amazing things —providing comfort, safety, and efficiencies. To achieve optimum performance, the systems must be “tuned” to stay in sync with the activities of the occupants and monitored to affirm proper operation.

This can be done through building optimization, a post-construction service which includes:

  1. Working with the building owner to develop an optimization plan
  2. Providing oversight of the optimization plan through the duration of the established time period
  3. On-going monitoring of the building systems to ensure they function at peak performance

The objective of this service is to optimize the function of the building’s HVAC systems.

Optimization provides:

  • Occupant comfort
  • Reliability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Operation efficiency
  • Extended life of the equipment

All of these elements combined allow Schmidt Associates to provide long-term optimization services that save both energy and dollars, while ensuring occupant comfort. Want proof?

During design of a recent project, we modeled the building to predict the actual energy usage once built, based on parameters about hours of operation and other conditions provided by the client. However, once the building was occupied, the actual energy bills were much higher than the energy model predicted, so we started providing optimization services.

In 2015 the building had achieved an Energy Star Score* of 45. It was using almost 140,000 kWh of energy each month. Through two year’s worth of optimization, the building now has an Energy Score of 89 and is using approximately 122,000 kWh each month. The decrease in energy consumption is the direct result of properly scheduling the equipment, fine tuning the VRV system, and removing the data center usage from the rest of the building.

The building wasn’t designed poorly. It wasn’t constructed poorly. It just required special attention in certain areas to maximize its performance.

 

* ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.

 

 

Infographic: 7 Types of Engineering

Check out our handy infographic about the 7 types of engineering systems that affect a building:

 

 

Geothermal Heating Systems: How Do They Work?

Schmidt Associates has received an increasing number of inquiries about geothermal heating systems. We are also designing geothermal systems for a variety of projects. This blogs explains that technology.

A geothermal ground source heat pump (GSHP) is an electrically powered system that taps the stored energy of the greatest solar collector in existence: the earth. GSHP systems use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling, and hot water for homes and commercial buildings.

spaceatmosphereearth

 

The heat pump system uses solar energy stored in the earth’s crust. Energy is transferred to and from the earth’s surface by solar radiation, wind, and rainfall. At depths greater than 30’, the earth’s temperature remains constant, and is comparable to annual average air temperature.

Between the surface and a depth of 8’ (the maximum depth to install a GSHP horizontal loop of pipes to collect and disperse heat) the ground temperature will swing above and below the annual average air temperature, depending on the geographic location, soil type, and moisture levels. Because of its own insulation, soil temperature is more moderate year round than outside air.

water source heat pump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look for our future blog to learn about four types of geothermal systems.

Getting Real About Value Engineering

“Value engineering” is perhaps the most overused and under-realized term in the design/construction industry today. It has become the catch bucket for any exercise that involves reducing costs.

By definition, value is the ratio of function to cost. Value is increased by improving function or reducing cost. A great example: the benefit analysis of solar shading provided by extending the overhang of a roof. Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and special software programs, we can determine the optimum energy savings obtained from shading by applying the most cost-effective roof extension (the ratio of function to cost). Our analysis identifies the point of diminishing return – the point when the increased cost of the roof begins to yield lower shading benefit. This is value engineering.

In contrast, most references to a “value-engineering exercise” are in reality a “cost-reduction exercise.” It involves compiling a list of items (or functions) to eliminate from the project, thereby reducing cost. This is not necessarily a bad thing to do. In fact, it is often an unavoidable part of any project since needs and wants are almost always greater than budgets. However, calling it “value engineering” is a misnomer because the function is eliminated along with the cost.

It is important to recognize that value can be lost with the cost reduction. This often occurs when a function that yields a long-term benefit (reduced energy or operational cost) is eliminated to provide an initial cost reduction. A clear understanding of the difference between “value engineering” and “cost reduction” helps avoid decisions with unintended consequences or “de-value engineering.”

Adding Value

Schmidt Associates was founded on the guiding principle of Servant Leadership. This value threads itself through every interaction we have both internally and externally, resulting in a constant search to add value in every project. Flip through the magazine below to see five examples of how we have added value to our recent projects by focusing on culture shifts, energy savings, telling the story through facility design and being a true one-stop-shop for our Owners.

 

 

Lake Central High School Earns EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification

Lake Central High School Earns EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification for Superior Energy Efficiency


lakecentralhs1

Lake Central High School, has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR certification, which signifies that the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.

“Lake Central is pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said principal Larry Veracco. “Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs.”

Facilities that earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical facilities and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Lake Central High School improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire school and by making cost-effective improvements to its building. The school has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use from 52.3 households for one year.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment, “ said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. “From the boiler room to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their buildings more efficient and earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification.”

To earn the ENERGY STAR, Lake Central High School took the following actions:

  1. Provided remote monitoring of the facility’s energy management systems and advised on any modifications that would improve efficiency or operation
  2. Conducted on-site meetings at the school to determine any modifications that may need to be made to the systems
  3. Conducted walk-throughs to assess the condition and operation of the mechanical systems and make recommendations on modifications to the sequence of operations in order to increase the energy efficiency of the building
  4. Analyze the electric and gas usage each month, benchmark that usage against similar facilities, and summarize the findings.
  5. Any modifications to improve efficiency or operation have been at no cost to the school corporation

EPA’s ENERGY STAR energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a 75 or higher on EPA’s 1-100 scale may be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. Commercial buildings that can earn the ENERGY STAR include offices, bank branches, data centers, financial centers, retail stores, courthouses, hospitals, hotels, K-12 schools, medical offices, supermarkets, dormitories, houses of worship, and warehouses.

ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products, 1.4 million new homes, and 20,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.

For more information about ENERGY STAR Certification for Commercial Buildings: www.energystar.gov/labeledbuildings

To check out a photo gallery of our Lake Central High School project, click here