McKinstry: Washington State University Everett

Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; plumbing, piping; educational facility; and new construction


Students walk by the central staircase within the Innovation Forum. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider.Engineering firm: McKinstry

2018 MEP Giants rank: 55

Project: Washington State University Everett

Location: Everett, WA, United States

Building type: Educational facility

Project type: New construction

Engineering services: Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; and plumbing, piping

Project timeline: October 2015 to June 2017

MEP/FP budget: $440,000


Washington State University (WSU) needed a strategic partner to create a new engineering and STEM education hub at its North Puget Sound Campus in Everett, Wash. The hub would house 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including new WSU offerings in:

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Data analytics
  • Hospitality business management
  • Integrated strategic communication.

With many of the degree programs focused on STEM, it was important for the new facility to reflect WSU's engineering and technical standards. The building needed to actas a living laboratory for students, providing a real-world learning environment that delivered the skills needed to compete globally.

The McKinstry engineering team met this challenge head on, setting a high standard for energy performance. The result created a baseline for future campus development that could be leveraged and replicated with future facility design and construction.


McKinstry led engineering for a new 95,000-sq-ft,mixed-purpose facility at WSU'sNorth Puget Sound Campus in Everett, Wash. SRG Partnership was the architect with Hoffman Construction serving as the general contractor.

The project included administrative offices, lecture hall, multipurpose classrooms,and special purpose mechanical and electrical education labs. There are 13 classrooms and nine engineering labs with faculty offices and conference rooms surrounding a central atrium.

An Innovation Forum serves as the heart of the building with a 4-story atrium that links major entry points for students. The Innovation Forum also serves as a pre-function and gathering place for university and community events. It incorporates mechanically operable windows and louvers, providing fresh air ventilation and natural cooling. During the winter, waste heat is harvested from thebuilding's data center and reused in the Innovation Forum's hydronic radiant floor.

VRF terminal heating and cooling system coupled with natural ventilation via louvers and garage doors to optimize energy efficiency. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider.Landscape Irrigated by Rainwater Harvesting System. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider.Innovation Forum atrium is conditioned with natural ventilation coupled with a radiant slab. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Benschneider.

McKinstry provided high-performance building design, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing,and fire-protection systems installation. Specific measures included:

  • A heat recovery system that recycles heat generated by the on-site data center to warm the building's ground floor.
  • A variable refrigeration flow HVAC system, allowing for precision control over heating and cooling in different zones of the building depending on the need.
  • Outside air louvers/dampers to automate the circulation of outside air to the indoors, using the most energy-efficient setting.
  • A thermal envelop that uses a rain-screen fa├žade of brick and a metal panel with R-35 insulation and thermally broken cladding supports. A full-building air leakage test revealed a combined average of 0.217 cfm/ft2at 75 Pa. This is 45%better than the Washington State Energy Code.
  • Photovoltaic solar cells on roof, which convert sunlight directly into electricity. The array provides 83,500 kWh of energy each year.
  • Rainwater harvesting for irrigation and toilet use. More than 450,000 gallons of water will be saved, a 14%reduction in water utility consumption compared to what the building would otherwise require.

The team also oversaw engineering for gigabit passive optical network fiber optic networking system, complete LED lighting package and dual electrical services (one for 480/277V loads and one for 208/120V loads).

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