University of Pittsburgh, Benedum Hall Renovations, Addition

Existing building retrofit: University of Pittsburgh, Benedum Hall Renovations and Addition; H.F. Lenz Co.

08/09/2012


Project name: University of Pittsburgh, Benedum Hall Renovations and Addition

Location: Pittsburgh, Pa.

Firm name: H.F. Lenz Co.

Project type, building type: Existing building retrofit, school (college, university)

Project duration: 6 years

Project completion date: April 29, 2010

Project budget for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection engineering only: $39.5 million

Engineering challenges and solutions

 


Challenge:
Provide lab space conducive to cross-disciplinary research.

Resolution: Tear down those walls! Open lab environment. The internal mechanical cores that compartmentalized the floor plates were relocated to the exterior of the building. Faculty offices, grad spaces, and open lounge spaces were organized along the perimeter and wet labs (contained areas) at the center of floor plate.

Challenge: Installing distribution ductwork for a lab building with 12-ft floor-to-floor height.

Resolution: Create three new exterior duct shafts for the vertical distribution and shorten the amount of horizontal duct required. The low floor-to-floor heights, coupled with the concrete structure, limited the height of ductwork that could be installed at the ceiling. The existing HVAC system used the corridors as the return air path, a concept that is no longer permitted by code, but it eliminated a lot of ductwork and allowed the original building to be constructed with the lower floor heights. The lab exhaust shafts were kept to the wet lab side of the building, and the supply airshaft came from the dry lab side of the building. These permitted the supply and exhaust ductwork to be sized large enough to keep airflows and noise within acceptable limits, and avoided crossing ducts, which would have lowered ceiling heights to the point that they would have been an obstruction.

Challenge: Outdated systems, centrally located.

Resolution: Relocate systems to exterior shafts of building. As mentioned above, relocating the mechanical cores to the external four corners of the building created open labs. Additional efficiencies were gained through flexible access to electrical, computational, mechanical, and plumbing systems via plug-and-play opportunities at each floor through ductwork, piping, plumbing, and IT server rooms.

Challenge: High energy costs.

Resolution: Provide right sizing of systems. The design team worked with the users to determine the optimal balance of dry and wet labs. Appropriate systems were provided that respected their environmental impact while achieving the goals of the research facility. The design is flexible and provides room for expansion and adaptation within open lab spaces. A variable air volume supply and lab exhaust system were provided.

Challenge: Research and learning spaces hidden behind solid walls and on upper floors of tower.

Resolution: Relocate classrooms to ground floors with multifunctioning circulation spaces. A new Teaching Learning Center was designed with café, library, student organization offices, computer lab, and classrooms located around breakout spaces.

Challenge: Constituency engagement throughout complex project.

Resolution: Host eco-charette and user meetings.

Challenge: Leaking raised plaza.

Resolution: Replace with green space.

Challenge: Windows leaking air and water.

Resolution: Replace glazing system and revitalize building enclosure.

Challenge: Locating a home for the Mascaro Sustainability Initiative.

Resolution: On-site addition to existing Benedum Hall. A new 42,000-sq-ft building houses wet and dry labs for 18 faculty members and 94 graduate and postdoctoral researchers.

Features of the project include: an estimated 17.9% energy cost savings over a similar minimally code-compliant designed structure, energy-recovery coil system, CO2 monitoring, and premium efficiency motors for all mechanical equipment estimated to save more than $600 per year each in energy costs. Other features include sensors that adjust lighting by the level of natural light, highly efficient LED lights on exterior, and reflective thermoplastic polyolefin, or TPO, roof. This project was designed by the same team and ran concurrently with the Benedum Hall project but had different general, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection contractors that needed to be coordinated. Construction cost was $8 million. The project has attained LEED Gold.



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
integrated building networks, NFPA 99, recover waste heat, chilled water systems, Internet of Things, BAS controls
40 Under 40; Performance-based design; Clean agent fire suppression; NFPA 92; Future of commissioning; Successful project management principles
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
Tying a microgrid to the smart grid; Paralleling generator systems; Previewing NEC 2017 changes
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me