Agora Mall

New construction: Agora Mall; Triad Consulting


This rendering shows the food court and public areas under the skylights of Agora Mall.Project name: Agora Mall

Location: Santo Domingo, DR

Firm name: Triad Consulting

Project type, building type: New construction, retail

Project duration: 3 years

Project completion date: Nov. 17, 2011

Project budget for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection engineering only: $1.45 million

Engineering challenges

The electric grid in this location is notorious for outages, requiring a design offering 100% backup power to the building to support ventilation and life-safety systems, and provide power to all the high-end retail stores. This project was designed to be a U.S. Green Building Council LEED certified building, which required sustainability to be incorporated into the design with energy conservation measures. The site had restricted space around the building and the roof was designed with transparent skylights that severely limited space for HVAC equipment. Additionally, with a majority of the parking spaces being underground levels, the need for continuous ventilation further increased this equipment. With the project location being in a volatile seismic zone and high wind zone, more design constraints were imposed limiting our options.


To deal with these design constraints, the HVAC design utilized a central water system supplying local water-cooled HVAC units, with air cool units serving the public and food courts. Pump staging and VFDs were used to vary water supply to meet the partial load conditions and provide a more energy-efficient system. In order to deal with the backup power requirements and limited space, the generators were located in the underground areas with exhaust and cooling water systems skillfully routed to the roof level and hidden from view. The supply air is routed underground utilizing a ductwork system powered by a set of in-line fans, and the exhaust air is removed via strategically located air shafts hidden from view and powered by dedicated up-blast fans.

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