ARC Honorable Mentions

A concept being bandied about a lot lately, whether it refers to LEED, BACnet or whatever, is that standards and ideas should be organic and not static—a sound concept given this age of rapid technology development and the need for fresh ideas. In many ways we try to keep the magazine organic by having the capacity to adapt and thereby better serve our readers.


A concept being bandied about a lot lately, whether it refers to LEED, BACnet or whatever, is that standards and ideas should be organic and not static—a sound concept given this age of rapid technology development and the need for fresh ideas. In many ways we try to keep the magazine organic by having the capacity to adapt and thereby better serve our readers. That said, we hope the ARC Awards can also be organic and able to grow. In reviewing the wonderful submissions we received this year, we discovered that there are truly a number of interesting systems and technologies within these buildings. This inspired the staff of CSE to next year grant awards to individual building systems that reflect excellence in each of our categories of coverage: automation/controls; electrical/communications; fire protection/security; HVAC; lighting; and plumbing. In the interim, however, we've chosen to award six honorable mentions in these categories for this year's awards.

Automation and Controls

St. John the Baptist Church at Skaggs Catholic Center, Draper, Utah

Spectrum Engineers, Salt Lake City

This new, 31,409-sq.-ft. church is controlled by a benign, higher power—its building automation system. Incorporated into the BAS are HVAC, daylighting and electrical lighting, audio/video and security/access. To simplify control, the user interface is a single wall-mounted touch panel that uses icons to represent preset "scenes" that adjust systems to the appropriate levels. These include three event sizes: small, medium and large.

A scenario such as Thursday morning Mass, where a small group of people congregates in a large hall, would warrant choosing the small event icon. Doing so sets in motion a predetermined list of events to transform—at least from a systems perspective—a large hall into a more intimate space. In other words, this preset tells the BAS to use systems in such a way that they will benefit a small group of people seated at the front of the hall. For example, while the hall is equipped with several sets of speakers, the small event preset adjusts the system so that only certain speakers will be used. And the air-handling system adjusts down from 100% for a large event to 50% for a small one.

The lighting system, using occupancy sensors and scheduling timers, integrates electric lighting with daylighting. The electric lighting mimics natural lighting at night to tone down perceived lighting differences between day and night services.

On the HVAC side, the church uses two custom variable frequency drive-powered air-handling units, an air-cooled chiller and a boiler. Spectrum collaborated with the acoustical team to ensure that the duct system that serves the chapel was sized for minimal sound.


Modern Woodmen of America , Rock Island, Ill.

Affiliated Engineers, Madison, Wis.

A typical concrete and glass office building from the '60s, the headquarters of Modern Woodmen, a fraternal organization dedicated to providing financial services to its members, needed a significant renovation—and more space. The challenge was that the building continue to operate while being renovated. To meet the demands of 21st century technology and beyond, a new power system was part of that upgrade. For example, the electrical service was upgraded to a three-phase, 480-volt, four-wire system, and the beauty of the scheme was that the new service was installed with the existing system in place. Designers converted an abandoned interior smoke stack into a riser for a new bus duct dedicated to mechanical loads in a new ceiling penthouse. A second bus duct, dedicated to office loads, was then installed in place of the obsolete bus duct that fed equipment to the old mechanical floor.

Elsewhere, the lighting system was also upgraded to take advantage of the new electrical service, and at one point, every other row of office lighting was temporarily disconnected to drop the amount of watts consumed per sq. ft. from four to less than two. This allowed Affiliated's HVAC team to operate the building on only one air-handling unit during one winter—there were four—so two larger, more efficient units could be installed.

Fire Protection, Life Safety and Security

Condell Medical Center , Libertyville, Ill.

KJWW, Rock Island, Ill.

As part of a major expansion, this facility's life-safety and security systems were significantly upgraded. A major architectural element of the expansion was a new three-story atrium. What is unusual is that the lower windows in this court-like area are tied to the building's fire-alarm and smoke-evacuation system. Specifically, the windows are fitted with motorized operators that can open them to draw in low-velocity make-up air in the event that smoke removal is necessary. The fire-alarm system, in turn, can also activate exhaust fans to evacuate smoke. Security systems were also an important aspect of this integrated system. Access control and video management, for example, are integrated through RS-232 controls. Commands can be sent back and forth between systems, triggered from events in either system. Security personnel are capable of manually monitoring multiple video images on a split-screen monitor, but the system automatically goes into response mode when certain pre-programmed incidents come into play. In turn, the access control system can communicate with and assume control of the monitoring system via the RS-232 integration. By doing so, this allows security guards to automatically be alerted to the area of concern with associated prompts for appropriate action.

On an unrelated note, the mechanical team also worked with the architectural team to shift ductwork to the building's exterior as an architectural element. This allowed the addition to match the floor-to-floor heights of the existing facility.


Suffolk University, Somerset St. Residence Hall, Boston

Cannon Design, Grand Island, N.Y.

With a growing on-campus student population and no room to expand, this nearly century-old university required a new dorm. But the only way to go was up.

The 19-story, 345-bed facility's most tantalizing feature is its atrium, which spans the structure vertically from top to bottom, providing a high quality and quantity of daylight to adjacent bedrooms, lounges and common areas. But it also plays a central and innovative role in the dorm's HVAC system. Creating a naturally ventilated thermal barrier between the interior and outdoor environments, the atrium tempers the air above the occupied ground level and reduces heat gain and loss to adjacent rooms using minimal energy. Temperature sensors at the top of the atrium control louvers and fans that bring outside air in for ventilation and optimization of internal temperatures. In colder weather, the atrium essentially acts as a solar collector. Additionally, it is heated and cooled only at the ground level. Thermal conditions in atrium above ground level "float" without energy input and using natural ventilation.

Efficient, innovative HVAC design in the building extends beyond the atrium. Due to the low floor-to-floor height and the relatively small footprint, mechanical systems that required minimal floor space and horizontal distribution were necessary. As such, Cannon selected a four-pipe vertical fan coil system, placing an individual fan coil unit in each dorm room and providing heating and cooling via vertical water risers. Required ventilation is provided by a roof-mounted energy-recovery unit that distributes outside air by means of vertical duct risers directly connected to each fan coil unit. A central toilet exhaust system recovers energy and transfers it to the ventilation make-up air through a heat wheel energy recovery device.


The National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Washington D.C.

Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, San Francisco

A cavernous structure mimicking aircraft hangars, the lighting of the facility and its rare collection proved a major challenge. To preserve the various artifacts, it was decided that direct daylight best not reach the various planes and space vehicles so as to avoid damage from ultraviolet light. A key challenge was the distances between the ceiling and the aircraft. The problem was that the typical type of fixture used to light such a space would generate enough heat to interfere with the structure's temperature control system. Daylight would not to be the major source of illumination, but it was desired that artificial light be as close to natural light's color spectrum (3,000°K) as possible to give as much of an "outdoor" appearance to the aircraft as possible. The solution: ceramic metal-halide lights that produce an overall light level of 20 footcandles. Individual aircraft, in turn, are also illuminated with supplemental track-mounted task lighting. Furthermore, it was desired that the ceiling of the structure serve as the "sky" and that overhead equipment that would also require maintenance not detract from the architectural effect. The solution was to locate lights along a light shelf, which also incorporated some natural lighting that allowed designers to illuminate the underside of the roof hangar. In turn, it also made it possible for the team to distribute huge air ducts through the tubular trusses that support the roof.


Center for Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, Calif.

Rumsey Engineers, Oakland, Calif.

As sustainable design continues to grow, there are those buildings that are making a concerted effort toward the concept and those that practically define it. The Carnegie Institution of Washington's Center for Global Ecology on the Stanford campus in California falls into the latter category.

Dedicated to the understanding of the earth as an integrated system, the building was designed to teach by example, and as would be expected, "green" features abound—natural ventilation, daylighting, sunshades and photovoltaics. But the building's most impressive feature is its creative use of water, particularly its "Night Sky" system, a roof-spray system that radiates heat into the upper atmosphere. Chilled water for cooling is provided without air-conditioning compressors, and the system uses small sprinklers to spray a thin film of water on the roof at night. The water is cooled primarily through radiation to the cold night sky and is collected via a roof drainage system to a 12,000-gal. storage tank. Chilled water is supplied to the building at 55°F to 60°F using only 0.04 kW/ton and only half as much water as a conventional water-cooled chiller. On the hottest days, an existing 20-ton air-cooled chiller provides additional cooling.

Another clever use of water in the building is in the "Cool Tower," a specially designed structure that not only serves as an icon for the building, but also as an evaporative cooler. A V-shaped "windcatcher" at the top of the tower captures breezes from any direction and directs them down to the lobby. Atomizing sprayers in the tower add moisture to the air to create a thermally driven downdraft when no wind is blowing, bringing cool air into the lobby.

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.
Commissioning lighting control systems; 2016 Commissioning Giants; Design high-efficiency hot water systems for hospitals; Evaluating condensation and condensate
Solving HVAC challenges; Thermal comfort criteria; Liquid-immersion cooling; Specifying VRF systems; 2016 Product of the Year winners
MEP Giants; MEP Annual Report; Mergers and acquisitions; Passive, active fire protection; LED retrofits; HVAC energy efficiency
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices
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.
click me