Project Profile: RegenXBio

This RegenXBio project focused on adding on additional space to house utilities to service the building's heavy equipment.

By EwingCole August 15, 2022
Courtesy: EwingCole

Engineering firm: EwingCole
2022 MEP Giants rank: 46
Project: RegenXBio
Location: Rockville, MD, United States
Building type: Industrial/manufacturing facility/warehouse; office building; research facility/laboratory
Project type: Existing building retrofit
Engineering services: Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; plumbing, piping
Project timeline: December 2018 to December 2021

The entrance to RegenXBio.

The entrance to RegenXBio. Courtesy: EwingCole


EwingCole designed a fit-out of a five-story building while the core and shell were under construction. Initially, the design was for half office and half laboratory space, so we adapted the house Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) and condenser water system for this use. However, early in the fit-out design, the design team needed to include a large area (approximately 26,000 SF) of dedicated cGMP manufacturing space. The space required cleanrooms classified as either ISO 7, ISO 8, or controlled, not classified (CNC).

The original building core and shell equipment and utilities were not designed for cleanroom temperature, relative humidity and air change needs, requiring a chilled water system with N+1 redundancy to serve the cleanrooms’ air handlers and process equipment.

The limited space available in the leased building created significant mechanical, electrical, plumbing and process engineering challenges. First was the large quantity of equipment required to serve the cleanrooms, and second, the equipment needed to be accessible without interrupting or entering the 24/7 operational cleanrooms. In addition, systems servicing the manufacturing areas required certain levels of redundancy to provide continuous process operation. The design team also needed to limit the number of mechanical services in the manufacturing area ceiling that use water to limit future shutdowns.

Manufacturing/Support at RegenXBio.

Manufacturing/Support at RegenXBio. Courtesy: EwingCole


The fit-out required roughly 11,000 SF of additional space to house utilities to service the building’s heavy equipment. To solve this, the design team installed the cleanroom suite on the top (fifth) floor, increased the height of the fifth floor, and added the largest penthouse that the municipality would allow without it being considered a building floor and increasing the building height. The penthouse was designed and constructed to house the following items:

  • Multiple Air Handling Units
  • Hot water plant, including boilers and pumps
  • Steam generation plant including steam boilers, pressure reducing stations, condensate recovery system, feedwater system, and flash tank
  • Primary supply, return, and exhaust duct distribution with zoned duct routes down to the GMP area below
  • Multiple process Temperature Control Units (TCU) with piping to process equipment in the manufacturing suite below
  • Compressed air system
  • Chilled water plant, including pumps and accessories
  • Electrical gear, including variable frequency drives (VFD), switchboards, transfer switches, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

The penthouse houses the majority of utilities that serve the cleanroom suites. The design team leveraged the available penthouse space to accommodate additional items that would eventually require servicing to limit the potential for disruption of the manufacturing process. These items include zoned hot water coils, humidifiers, VFDs, water-cooled temperature control units, and the building automation system (BAS).

The chilled water pumping system was located on the east side of the penthouse, where there was spare space for roof-mounted chillers. In addition, due to space constraints, the limited rooftop space meant that the design did not meet the final manufacturing process requirements for the necessary chilled water loads. The design team worked with a manufacturer that could provide the largest capacity available within the constraints of the overall footprint, airflow clearances, and noise requirements. The resulting three chillers provided 700 tons of cooling with N+1 capacity. The team also included a louvered screen wall with acoustic dampening properties that allowed sufficient airflow to the chillers while also screening and dampening chiller sound output. The chilled water system utilized a 30 percent propylene glycol solution for freeze protection. It serves air handlers that serve cleanrooms and process equipment, including temperature control units, filler/isolator, purified water generator, and autoclaves.

Manufacturing/Support at RegenXBio.

Manufacturing/Support at RegenXBio. Courtesy: EwingCole

Penthouse System Renderings.

Penthouse System Renderings. Courtesy: EwingCole

Author Bio: EwingCole delivers buildings, spaces and places that advance their clients' missions.