Project Profile: Westminster College Meldrum Science Center

Firm name: Spectrum Engineers Inc.

Project building name and location: Westminster College Meldrum Science Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

Type of building and type of project: Military Facility, New Construction

Project completion date and project duration: March 2010

Engineering challenges and solutions:

This college science center had several challenges for the Spectrum Engineers engineering design team.

Challenge: Achieving stringent lighting levels for U.S. Green Building Council LEED Platinum certification.

Solution: Overall lighting is 0.94 W/sq ft, but this is never reached because daylight harvesting is aggressively employed. The central core is bathed in daylight all day long, creating a welcoming feel for the whole building.

Responsive daylight control maintains proper energy usage. Many classrooms are vacant at night, and occupancy sensors extinguish the lighting in these cases. Also, extremely energy-efficient LEDs are used throughout. The building is designed with glass walls to the central atrium, which facilitates daylight sharing and provides views from both sides.

Energy-efficient compact fluorescent downlights are used in student study/lounge areas and in conference rooms illuminated by daylight. Shades and control for audio-visual use are provided in conference rooms as needed.

Challenge: Locating roof space for photovoltaic (PV) array.

Solution: The building required extensive, space-consuming rooftop mechanical equipment to support the laboratories and the atrium smoke exhaust system. This resulted in a crowded rooftop and a challenge for engineers planning the placement of enough solar PV panels to achieve renewable energy goals.

This 208 V, three-phase, grid-tied PV system is equipped with more than 90 230W solar panels. Spectrum’s electrical engineers worked closely with the owner, mechanical engineer, and installers to mount many of the panels on the roof of the premanufactured air handler enclosure. This required the addition of steel supports in the enclosure to support the additional weight of the panels. Renewable energy-generation goals were successfully achieved.

Challenge: Bringing electrical service to the building and coordinating the existing medium-voltage line.

Solution: Bordered by neighborhoods on all sides, Westminster College does not possess an abundance of extra space.

Each building added to the campus must be carefully located and designed to meet space constraints and complement existing campus buildings. Meldrum Science Center is located between two campus buildings, Converse Hall and Foster Hall. The Science Center is adjacent to an important pedestrian mall and courtyard between it and the Payne Gymnasium and is next to a primary campus parking lot. Meldrum Science Center, one of the largest buildings on campus, faced space constraints from the beginning, creating a challenge for bringing electrical service to the building. Careful coordination between Spectrum Engineers, the owner, and contractors of both the Meldrum Science Center as well as a concurrent pedestrian mall/courtyard project was required.

Challenge: The college lacked a site lighting standard for the campus.

Solution: Without a campus standard guiding the engineering team’s decisions, the site lighting for the Meldrum Science project and the site and pathway lighting for the adjacent and concurrent pedestrian mall/courtyard project may not have resulted in pleasing or complementary design and specification decisions. Spectrum worked closely with the owner and architect, poring over hundreds of manufacturers’ cut sheets and samples to arrive at a pathway/pedestrian lighting plan that achieved the safety, aesthetic, and energy-efficiency goals of the college. Spectrum Engineers then helped the college create a campus standard for these two projects.




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