The Top Engineering Projects of 2012
In today’s competitive construction market, how can engineering firms maintain an edge over their rivals for the limited design projects that become available? With so many options to choose from, building owners can be selective and demand the most innovative solutions to their construction challenges—often with strict budgets and tight schedules.
Plumbing Engineer invited firms to share their success stories in an effort to determine the answer to this question, and from the submissions we’ve selected the best examples of engineering firms that are pioneering ground-breaking design concepts.
The common theme among these firms is a commitment to developing the most efficient and sustainable systems for their clients’ unique needs—from a water-cooled dental vacuum system for Georgia Health Sciences University’s College of Dental Medicine to rainwater harvesting and graywater systems to offset toilet, urinal, and irrigation demands for NOAA’s Pacific Regional Center, as well as the transformation of a casino into the Kansas Star Equine Center and a new hemodialysis water-treatment and distribution system for the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital.
Helping clients earn LEED certification also plays a major role in these firms’ strategies, as evidenced by the Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 in Issaquah, Washington, which earned LEED Platinum certification through the use of energy optimization and water reclamation.
We hope you enjoy reading about these innovative strategies from the country’s top engineering firms.
Mid-Continent Public Library
Kansas City, Mo.
Mid-Continent Public Library’s design consultant team recently completed the design for the new Woodneath Branch Library. Located in the Shoal Creek area of Kansas City, the new 35,000-square-foot building will be connected to an existing two-story antebellum home that was built in the 1850s. Construction is scheduled to be completed in December 2012.
Building features include a curved concourse near the front entries, multiple angled exterior walls, windows on the east and west elevations and a clearstory for natural light in the main library. The new library is divided into three sections. The southernmost section includes meeting rooms, a computer lab, the young adult collection and a coffee shop. The central section will house the main collection. The northernmost section includes administrative offices, the children’s collection and a story hour room.
As part of the approach to earn LEED certification, the design team selected water efficient plumbing fixtures. The public and staff restrooms utilize dual flush water closets at 1.6/1.1 gpf, urinals at 0.12 gpf and metered, sensor operated lavatory faucets that use no more than 0.08 gallons per cycle. Break room sinks utilize low flow 1.5 gpm faucets.
These low flush and low flow plumbing fixtures are designed to achieve water savings of 45% better than baseline, earning 4 points for LEED WE Credit 3, Water Use Reduction and 1 point in the Innovation in Design credit category for exemplary performance in WE Credit 3. A water sub-meter was specified to allow the building owner to track water usage. This also contributes to earning points for LEED Credit 5, Measurement and Verification.
The project presented an unusual design challenge for the roof drainage system, due to the numerous roof types with varying heights. The system consists of sloped metal roofing with downspouts that convey storm water to combination primary/overflow drains located on the flat roof areas, where it extends to a below-grade storm water system outside the building. The combination primary/overflow drains resulted in labor savings, since separate overflow drains were not required.
Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72
Fire Station 72 in Issaquah, Wash., is an 11,400-square-foot, full-time facility operated by Eastside Fire and Rescue. The station houses three rotating shifts of six firefighters at a time. It includes offices, living quarters, three truck bays and support spaces. This project was designed to achieve the aggressive energy efficiency targets of the Architecture 2030 Challenge. The building itself was designed to achieve a 70% reduction in energy use over the regional average for fire stations before solar electric panels were installed. The project received LEED v3.0 Platinum certification.
The project includes an 8,500-gallon, above-grade rainwater cistern for toilet flushing, laundry, irrigation and truck washing and is on track to reduce potable water use by more than 50% over a standard fire station. The project also includes a grid-tied 30 kW solar electric array. Ecotope provided energy efficiency consulting, full mechanical and plumbing design and LEED and sustainability consulting.
Fire trucks are cleaned regularly to reduce transport of potential pollutants and pathogens and to keep the vehicles clean and shiny. Truck washing uses a great deal of potable water in a typical fire station. To reduce this demand, the station harvests rainwater from the roof into a large above-ground cistern. This water is used for all non-potable needs; to wash trucks, flush toilets, to irrigate and for clothes washing.
Ecotope used 10 years of daily rainfall data to develop a cistern sizing calculator. This type of analysis is much more accurate for sizing than using monthly averages or even daily averages. Using actual historical data allows for a better predictor of both large storm events and unusually long dry periods that occur from time to time. Use of rainwater at this station is predicted to save more than 58,000 gallons of potable water each year.
Meier and Frank Warehouse
Glumac has designed numerous rainwater harvesting/reuse systems, but none as ambitious as the system currently in place at the recently completed 14th and Everett project in Portland, Oregon. The five-story, full-block Meier and Frank warehouse was renovated to provide Class A office space with many green features. Designed by GBD Architects, the project is on track to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The large footprint and relatively small overall building size make this an ideal project to provide 100% of irrigation and flushwater needs for the building's estimated 700 occupants.
Rainwater is collected off of the eco- and built-up roofs using conventional roof drains and is routed through a storm filter located in the building. From there, it goes into a 147,000-gallon cistern located under the building. 81 percent of all rainfall is collected and reused, leaving 210,400 gallons draining to Portland's overtaxed combined sewer system. More than 530,000 gallons a year are diverted from the municipal systems. A duplex submersible pump controlled by a float switch pumps the recovered rainwater into the day/treatment tank. By utilizing low flow fixtures and drought-resistant plants, we were able to meet capacity with a small 1,600-gallon day tank.
Ultraviolet light and chlorine injection were both explored for treating the water prior to distribution. A chemical system was ultimately selected for its lower cost and ability to reduce odors. The system uses a probe to determine the chemical level in the tank, and a side stream approach injects the required amount of chlorine into the tank. The day tank also employs several float switches to control level alarms, fill and make up water from the utility for extended droughts. With the oversizing of the cistern, adding domestic water make-up is expected to be an extremely rare event.
A duplex booster pump is next in line, drawing water from the day tank and routing it through a duplex bag filter. Bag filters were chosen for their large capacity and lower cost. Cartridge filters are also a good choice if skilled maintenance people are not available. Recovered rainwater is supplied to the water closets and urinals in conventional copper piping with purple labeling. Irrigation water is separated via a double check valve and routed in purple PVC piping to planters and eco roofs.
University of Minnesota Amplatz
HGA Architects and Engineers
The University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital provides a world-class, state-of-the-art children’s healthcare facility in the Twin Cities. Part of an academic health center, the Children’s Hospital is home to one of the nation’s top 20 pediatric research programs.
Designed by Tsoi/Kobus and Associates and HGA Architects and Engineers, the architecturally distinctive, 360,000-square-foot children’s hospital includes a 320,000-square-foot addition and 40,000-square-foot renovation to existing space. The program features a seven-story bed tower with 96 inpatient beds, a two-story addition housing the Emergency Department, six operating rooms, the Imaging Center and the Pediatric Dialysis Center.
To meet the growing dialysis needs, HGA designed a state-of-the-art hemodialysis water treatment and distribution system serving the entire hospital. The system allows 30 inpatients to receive daily dialysis treatment in their rooms. In addition, it serves a nine-bed outpatient dialysis center, allowing 18 outpatients to receive daily treatment.
The client placed a high priority on monitoring, disinfecting and maintaining the system to meet ANS/AAMI RD62 standards.
During the design process, HGA worked with the facility staff and infectious control department to define dialysis requirements and the number of daily dialysis patients. HGA analyzed several types of hemodialysis water systems before choosing a state-of-the-art, non-chemical, reverse-osmosis heat sanitizing/disinfecting system that utilizes an automatic 180 F heat-sanitizing cycle to disinfect the system equipment and stainless steel piping distribution loops.
Based on patient room locations and available space, HGA determined that four heat-disinfecting hemodialysis systems were needed to serve the 96 inpatient beds and nine outpatient dialysis beds. Each system has a higher kill ratio of pathogenic, endotoxins and microorganism levels than a chemically disinfected system, produces 4,400 gpd of AAMI RD62 treatment water and stays within the manufacturer’s pipe distribution loop limitation of 1,000 lineal feet. It reduces the time to disinfect system equipment and the pipe distribution loop from 8 to 10 hours to two to three hours, so the distribution loops are more readily available for patients’ use.
The team also designed an aesthetically compatible custom connection box that works with the existing dialysis equipment.
The new Children’s Hospital and hemodialysis water-treatment and distribution system have been successfully operational since 2011.
Des Plaines, Ill.
The Engineering Studio
In August 2011, members of The Engineering Studio were brought on board as part of a larger team to represent the owner of a large warehouse in Des Plaines, Illinois. A torrential downpour had caused 75,000 square feet of the approximately 365,000-square- foot roof to collapse, resulting in substantial damage to the remaining roof and structural members of the building.
In coordination with structural and civil engineers, architects and the firm, it was determined that the existing storm and site drainage system had been modified extensively since the building was constructed in the 1950s and was severely inadequate to handle most storm events. Exterior catch basins backing up into the interior loading dock area and into floor drains that were connected to an inadequately sized ejector was becoming more common. In addition, due to the collapse event, Des Plaines was requiring that the entire roof be retrofitted with secondary roof drains, which were previously non-existent.
Due to the inadequacies of the existing storm and site drainage systems, The Engineering Studio felt their only course of action was to tear up the entire existing system or retrofit the building with a siphonic roof drainage system. A majority of the warehouse was still operational after the collapse, and every effort was being made by the owner to keep the tenants on the property. They wanted to pursue the least intrusive option to repair the storm drainage system.
Once it was determined that the entire existing roof would need to be replaced, the decision to abandon the existing underground system and use a siphonic system was made. The siphonic system allowed them to avoid massive disruptions to the portion of the warehouse that was still being used by tearing up the floor. It also allowed them to maintain the desired clearance elevation of 15’ within the warehouse as much as possible.
After exploring the site and looking for all existing obstructions, they began to carefully coordinate our design with the structural engineer, architect and a company called Siphonix, through the drainage product manufacturer MIFAB. The structural engineer determined that the existing roof structure could handle very little ponding, no more than two inches away from structural columns. In order to limit the amount of weight we would be supporting from the existing roof structure, Des Plaines city officials permitted the engineering team to use PVC piping instead of cast iron. All drains were located immediately adjacent to a column where as much as seven inches of water could pond.
A total of 41 primary and 41 secondary drains were spread over three primary drainage systems and six secondary drainage systems. The total discharge rate of the entire primary system was 12,345 gpm during a 4 in/hr rain event. Careful coordination had to take place between the primary and secondary systems and all existing electrical, fire protection and mechanical systems in order to maintain minimum warehouse clearances.
All of the interior portions of the new siphonic drainage system have been installed. The primary and secondary roof drains are being installed as portions of the roof are replaced. This work is still in progress, but the completed portions of the system are draining appropriately.
Creative Arts Building
Haywood Community College
Elm Engineering and Innovative Design worked together to design a three-story, multiple tier, 41,600-square-foot Creative Arts Building for Haywood Community College. Elm Engineering designed the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems and is currently providing construction administration for the project. This LEED Platinum building is expected to use 89.7% less energy than the ASHRAE baseline.
One of the key Creative Arts Building innovative technologies includes low temperature hot water generated by the solar thermal panels to create chilled water for comfort cooling by way of an absorption chiller and a 15,000-gallon solar water storage tank. The unique challenge was creating an acceptable payback scenario, which included a weighted redundancy in lieu of complete system redundancy. To help the owner offset the initial equipment costs, a solar developer was acquired to become a key team partner.
Other key integrated green design features include a 120-panel heating water solar thermal system, a 50-ton solar thermal absorption cooling system, solar thermal radiant floor heating, an energy efficient building envelope and a 20-panel solar thermal domestic hot water system.
Google Data Center
Douglas County, Ga.
DLB Associates, a consulting engineering firm based in Eatontown, N.J., led the design of a water reuse management system that supplies 100% recycled water to meet the cooling demands of Google’s Douglas County, Georgia, data center.
The teams worked closely together to produce a reuse water management system that facilitated a mutually beneficial situation: The Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA) retained water and sewer capacity for future end users during high-demand months, while Google substantially decreased its overall domestic water use footprint.
Prior to the project, the facility used potable water from the WSA for their cooling needs. The first phase of the reuse water management system included the construction of a side stream plant or reuse treatment facility. The WSA treats wastewater from the local communities and discharges the treated water to the Chattahoochee River. The side stream plant intercepts up to 30% of the treated, or “graywater,” and treats it further with additional disinfection/sterilization, as well as filtering and chlorinating it for use in Google’s cooling infrastructure.
The water from the side stream plant is then pumped five miles via a new dedicated piping main to the data center to provide make-up water for the facility’s cooling towers. The piping main was also constructed as part of the water reuse project. This first phase of implementation reduced Google’s demand on the WSA’s potable water supply and also freed capacity to be reallocated to other businesses and residents in the area, which can be especially critical during drought seasons.
The second phase of the reuse management system was building the effluent treatment plant (ETP) on the data center campus. The cooling tower blow-down, the water that is flushed out to remove mineral buildup in the towers after evaporative cooling, is sent to the ETP for treatment under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System standards. The primary processes of the ETP facility include a biological and chemical treatment system as well as a hollow fiber membrane filtration. The effluent water is then discharged into the Chattahoochee River in a cleaner state than before it was diverted from the WSA’s treatment facility.
The second phase implementation removed a significant amount of volume from the county sewer collection system, which was approaching local capacity limits. It also decreased the amount of effluent water that needed to be treated by the WSA after use at the data center.
Expounding on the success of the project, the executive director of the WSA stated that, because of the reuse management system, the data center now consumes less potable water than many local restaurants. The hope is that this first-of-a-kind, collective project will inspire other companies to take the leap forward in sustainable and alternative designs that can benefit everyone in the community.
UW–Madison’s South Campus Union
Arnold & O’Sheridan
The entire University of Wisconsin system has embraced sustainable green design and practices as a core institutional value. The strength of that commitment is fully demonstrated in UW–Madison’s new South Campus Union. The award-winning facility is designed for maximum sustainable performance, literally from top to bottom.
One of the building’s key features is a green roof that filters rainwater. The quality of the filtered rainwater is being closely monitored by faculty to determine the overall effectiveness of the green roof design. The green roof drainage and standard roof drainage within the building are piped separately to monitoring stations to determine whether the green roof filters the water well enough to meet infiltration standards. The standard roof water is also being monitored to measure the quality. This is a test site for the state that may help improve storm water management, reduce storm water runoff and improve storm water quality.
As the plumbing consultants for the project, Arnold & O’Sheridan understood that reduced water usage was to be a hallmark feature of the facility’s sustainable design profile. This resulted in incorporating low-flow lavatory faucets, toilets, urinals and showerheads to reduce water use by approximately 32%, which equates to over 400,000 gallons of water per year.
The focus on reducing the impact of the facility’s footprint on both the immediately adjacent and larger environments extends to the main commercial/institutional kitchen space. Located at the “bottom” of the facility, two of the largest capacity grease interceptors available were installed to reduce pollution loads and sewer backups in the surrounding neighborhood sanitary sewers. The interceptors also minimize any adverse impacts further downstream at the Madison Metropolitan Sanitary Sewer District’s treatment plant. The challenge was to find space for the interceptors’ holding tank on the very confined site. Arnold & O’Sheridan’s engineers met the challenge by burying a highly durable pre-cast concrete holding tank under the building’s truck loading dock. The tank is “honey wagon” accessible as needed.
A storm water cistern was also installed on the site to collect roof water to reuse. As with the grease interceptors, finding space on the site was difficult. A&O found one space that was free of buried utilities, was accessible, would allow the building storm drains to collect into it and allow the overflow to connect to the storm sewer leaving the site. A 10,000-gallon tank was installed and is being used to fill the exterior water features in the spring and to provide makeup water during the operating seasons. This greatly reduced the requirement for potable water for the water features, further conserving on precious resources.
The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads
Baltimore City, Md.
Located in the White Marsh section of Baltimore County, just 10 miles north of Baltimore City, Baltimore Crossroads @95 is a mixed-use development with the capacity to support more than six million square feet of commercial office, flex, research and development and warehouse space. An integral part of the development is The Arbors, a 365-unit, luxury market-rate rental apartment home community that opened last November.
The Arbors was designed to LEED Gold certification standards, and the project’s developer, Somerset Construction Company, put sustainability at the top of its specification list. “One of our main goals in the design of The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads was to examine every aspect of its construction and determine innovative ways to incorporate sustainability across the board, as technology allows,” explained Somerset’s chief operating officer Neil Greenberg.
When the M/E/P design team began working on the Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads, several challenges arose. Central to the challenges was the fact that the buildings were all wood framed. Somerset specified a hydronic heating and cooling system as opposed to a split, forced-air system but, according to Richard Grier, owner of the project’s M/E/P contractor, Krick Plumbing, “Hydronic systems and wood buildings don’t generally mix very well together. It’s tough to route the pipe through the building; with big steel or copper you have an open flame literally inches from the wood, so there exists a strong possibility for fires.”
Coincidentally, Grier had recently been introduced to Aquatherm’s polypropylene-random (PP-R) pipe systems by the German pipe company’s manufacturer’s rep, N.H. Yates Co. Inc. Yates’s Peter FitzGerald had explained that Aquatherm is relatively new to North America but has been used in PHVAC applications in more than 70 countries for nearly four decades.
While presenting the product to Somerset Construction officials, Grier explained that the heat fusion connections used with Aquatherm pipe do not involve open flames, which was crucial due to the nature of the project. Also, due to the pipe’s excellent flow rates, the buildings’ pipe systems could be re-sized, allowing the pipe to be installed without altering the ceiling height and walls. Grier said that the Krick crew was a bit apprehensive of fusing PP-R at first. “But once they went through the training and got out in the field,” he added, “they’ll tell you now they’d rather use that than anything else.”
Following the completion of The Arbors, both Somerset and Krick expect more projects involving Aquatherm. Meanwhile, Yates has seen extensive success with the PP-R product line, deploying it in a multitude of applications throughout its large regional territory.
For his part, Grier acknowledges the importance of a superior material but credits his talented and adaptive team, which included project manager Steve Harrison, general superintendent Paul Dlabich, job superintendent Tony Fitch and many others, with the project’s success. “This job was supposed to be an 18-month job but was completed in 12 months, so they really accelerated the job,” he said.
Kansas Star Equine Center
JBA Consulting Engineers
The Kansas Star Equine Center in Mulvane, Kan. is a unique job that began as the casino phase of the project and is now in the process of being converted into an equine center, while an expansion for a future casino is being constructed. During design of the casino phase, provisions were made to help the construction phase when converted to the equine center. This included trench drains within the casino covered with solid grates for the future arena trench drains, heavy duty floor drains with solid grates located in back-of-house areas for washdown of the future penning areas and capped utilities for future service bars, hose bibs, post hydrants and restrooms.
All future expansions for the arena were taken into consideration ahead of time when sizing building sanitary sewers, domestic water and natural gas systems. Expansion to the equine center includes an outdoor, covered practice arena and three outdoor barns with more than 100 animal stalls in each.
Provisions were provided for an additional five outdoor barns and one future outdoor, covered practice arena on site. Plumbing design included drainage from the outdoor arena and outdoor barns for washdown to individual sand-oil interceptors. The drainage system for the equine center, outdoor arena and each outdoor barn was a separately engineered system that consisted of trench drains and heavy duty floor drains with no p-traps, piped with minimum 2% slope to each sand-oil interceptor. The interceptor itself acts as the trap for the system, with adequately sized venting at the interceptor to account for the entire system.
This design is intended to help eliminate backups in the drainage system due to each drain being located near dirt, hay and associated debris. Washdown will be provided from hose bibs and post hydrants within each barn and within the covered arena with underground water distribution located below the frost line to all areas. Site medium pressure gas distribution to each barn, covered arena and future area for domestic water heating and space heating was provided to each barn.
Domestic water distribution to restrooms and service bars with French drain receptors were provided to drain the domestic water systems during non-use times when temperatures are below freezing due to exposed conditions. Successful design was due to a collaborative effort from all groups and extensive coordination with the contractors on site, including multiple site visits to Kansas by JBA’s Trusted Advisors™.
Jekyll Island Convention Center
Jekyll Island, Ga.
Located at the main entrance of the new Jekyll Island Beach Village, the Jekyll Island Convention Center provides 128,000 square feet of prime oceanfront convention and meeting space. The center is integrated into its natural beachfront environment in a manner that minimizes impact on the environment, while creating a memorable experience for guests to enjoy for many years to come. The ribbon cutting and dedication was held on Sunday, May 20, 2012.
Comprised of state-of-the-art convention spaces, meeting rooms, pre-function spaces, offices and support spaces, the Jekyll Island Convention Center is seeking LEED® NC 3.0 Silver certification. Environmental-friendly aspects include:
• A rainwater harvesting system consisting of 80,000 gallons of rainwater and condensate from 460 tons of cooling capacity being harvested for toilet/urinal flushing and irrigation purposes (three tanks; 30,000 gallon, 50,000 gallon and a 1,000-gallon day tank).
• A solar water heating system, a 2,500-gallon hybrid water heater tank (Solar/LP Gas) supplying banquet kitchen, laundry and all back-of-house hot water demand.
• Exterior lighting that complements the surrounding buildings while highlighting the new convention center. Special attention was given to the fixtures to avoid negatively impacting turtle nesting on the adjacent beachfront. The electrical system, consisting of a 4,000-amp switchboard that feeds multiple distribution, lighting and appliance panels, was designed to enhance the relaxed beachfront atmosphere.
• The building’s high-efficiency cooling system is supported by two 200-ton nominal chillers. All air handlers use two-way chilled water control valves to match water flow with building cooling demand. Ventilation to the building is through energy recovery units that are varied through demand control.
The $39 million Jekyll Island Convention Center also integrates security access control through card/keypad access systems and video surveillance through indoor and outdoor CCTV cameras. An audio/visual room stores all equipment and controls for the floor and wall-mounted audio/visual interfaces in all meeting rooms and the digital scheduling panels in the hallways. A voice/data system plays background music in common areas and can be used for paging.
The new Jekyll Island Beach Village includes Great Dunes Park and retail space, as well as hotels and condominiums. TLC has been an integral part of the revitalization of the island as a sub consultant to HHCP Architects Inc., Maitland, Florida. The owner is Jekyll Island Authority, and the contractor for the new convention center is Brasfield & Gorrie, Atlanta. TLC Engineering for Architecture provided MEP engineering, along with security, A/V and voice/data designs. TLC also provided energy modeling and LEED administration for the project.
OUS/OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building
When completed, the Collaborative Life Sciences Building will be Oregon’s premier, state-of-the-art, LEED Platinum teaching and research facility. Bringing together the state’s leading public and private health and life science research resources, the 650,000 square foot project includes specialty research and education spaces; medical, pharmaceutical, and dental facilities; in addition to retail and office spaces. The Revit-designed project was incredibly fast-tracked, even for design/build, and required all team members to collocate at one location to ensure that deadlines were met and a true integrated design process was followed.
As the MEP engineer on this high-performance building, Interface is designed sustainable systems throughout the facility. Our plumbing design includes:
• rainwater harvesting system on two thirds of the facility
• biowaste disposal system
• plus individual plumbing systems for DWV, sanitary sewer, hot/cold domestic water, fuel oil, dental vacuum, dental air, waste anesthesia gas disposal, reverse osmosis, deionized water, storm water management, acid waste, non-potable hot/cold water, natural gas, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrous oxide
• 900+ plumbing fixtures
• 2,400+ lab gas/med gas outlets
• 24.5 miles of piping, not counting the underground
?National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) Pacific Regional Center
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
WSP Flack + Kurtz
Sustainability is one of the core principles at WSP Flack + Kurtz, an MEP consulting engineering firm established in 1969. The firm’s plumbing unit and specialist high performance sustainable design team, Built Ecology, are both focused on smart ways to reduce water consumption through efficiency and water re-use strategies.
The 300,000-square-foot National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Regional Center located in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, is an excellent example of WSP Flack + Kurtz’ work currently in construction. The firm’s design team is implementing both rainwater collection and greywater treatment to offset toilet, urinal, and irrigation demands for the Center.
A key to water efficiency for the project actually started with the design of the HVAC systems. During the early goal setting phases, project stakeholders emphasized a strong desire for a healthy indoor environment focused on utilizing 100% outside HVAC systems. Based on these goals, a passively-driven, 100% outside air displacement system was selected for the main building HVAC system. For the 20% of the building occupied by its laboratory spaces, a 100% outside air chilled beam system was chosen.
With the warm and humid Hawaii climate and 100% outside air systems selected, it was clear to the team from the early stages that condensate flows from the HVAC systems were going to be substantial. Because of this, they decided to collect the condensate, along with shower and lavatory flow, for greywater treatment and re-use for irrigation demands. The system includes a 10,500-gallon tank where a combination of ultra-violet and sodium hypochlorite treatments are used to treat the water prior to use in irrigation. While the flow of condensate will vary seasonally based on climate, the average flow of condensate is expected to be 5,000 gallons per day, with even higher flows during the hotter, more humid months (July through October). This works to the project’s advantage as the highest condensate flows occur during the period when irrigation demands are at their greatest.
While WSP Flack + Kurtz designed the greywater system to supply the large irrigation demands on the site, rainwater collection was implemented for toilet and urinal flushing. The rainwater collection system includes a 40,000-gallon tank and associated treatment to service toilet and urinal flushing demands throughout the building.
Overall, the greywater treatment system is able to provide 100% of the project’s irrigation demand; no potable water connection was included in the design of the entire site’s irrigation systems. In addition, the rainwater collection tank is able to meet nearly 40% of the building’s toilet and urinal flushing demand, an average of over 800 gallons per day.
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Under the design-build contract awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southland Industries teamed with general contractor, Clark/Balfour Beatty, during the relocation of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The facility moved from its former location in Washington, D.C. to the National Naval Medical Center campus in Bethesda, Maryland—and evolved tremendously in the process. Not only did this project achieve LEED Gold certification, it was named the USGBC-National Capital Region New Construction Project of the Year.
From the start, waterborne pathogen prevention and control was a major concern for Southland, considering the plumbing system created was to be housed within a medical facility environment. Balancing minimized water consumption with infection control while eliminating the risk of scalding users required a strong effort. The guidelines laid out in UFC 4-510-01 Design: Medical Military Facilities provided a great starting point for meeting the owner’s minimum requirements, but the end results show that Southland went above and beyond the minimum.
Southland’s design features domestic hot water that, once run through a shell and tube heat exchanger off the heat recovery chiller, is generated by the use of plant steam through semi-instantaneous water heaters. Minimizing stagnant storage conditions, this solution also works to maintain energy efficiency.
The domestic hot water, which is generated at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, holds the capability to thermal shock the system at 160 degrees or higher, if required. From the water heaters, the domestic hot water system is routed through state-of-the-art digital mixing valves, giving the maintenance staff real-time readouts of the current temperature conditions, as well as the ability to adjust hot water temperature from 110 to 126 degrees—at the discretion of the infection control officer. Southland’s domestic hot water system was also laid out to minimize the amount of dead leg pipework, and contains a hot water return with a 5-degree temperature drop was designed across the system, too.
Another component of the design was to incorporate copper-silver ionization into the hot water return system to provide water treatment. Southland chose copper-silver ionization as a result of conversations with industry experts verifying it provided the best form of legionella control, as well as an easily maintainable water treatment system.
Water efficiency for the project was achieved through the use of dual flush water closets, low flow urinals, low flow showerheads, and the use of laminar flow manual faucets, where deemed acceptable by the owner.
In addition to the infection control and water sustainability measures Southland took, another issue was faced in regard to backflow prevention. Since the incoming water service was brought into the building through the basement, it was essential to provide a dual RPZ backflow preventer. Southland’s concern with the device was potential basement flooding. With discharge rates in the range of 850 gallons per minute in a backflow condition, that would ultimately deem the hospital unusable. In addition to proper drainage, the solution was to provide a water detector to monitor the discharge of the RPZ device and cause the solenoid valve to shut off the feed in the case of a backflow condition.
Curt Eisenhower, Dennis Cavallaro, Mike Kirkpatrick and Elizabeth Snyder led this design, and showed the passion was Southland Industries possessed in providing a state-of-the-art medical facility for the many troops returning home.
Northern Wake Campus
Wake County, N.C.
A new community college campus afforded Wake Technical Community College (Wake County, NC) an opportunity to develop a sustainable environment in which to study and work. Goals were established and strategies identified for how the campus would conserve water, maximize energy performance and preserve natural resources. To that end, the Northern Wake Campus is constructing its fifth building on the campus with a goal of LEED Gold certification by the US Green Building Council. The college is already realizing the tangible benefits and cost savings of its green campus, and is the first campus in the United States to have certified all of its buildings, making it the first fully LEED campus in the country.
Clark Nexsen Architecture & Engineering of Raleigh, N.C. was awarded with the design of the new 80,000 square foot general classroom building on the Wake Tech North Campus with an estimated construction cost of $18 million. This facility is four stories and includes a 300-seat lecture hall and associated pre-function area that will employ the following sustainable design strategies:
The project has been designed to reduce total energy consumption through the implementation of several strategies. Some of these include:
• Increased building insulation at roof and wall surfaces, and use of high efficiency mechanical systems, resulting in a 57.7% reduction in annual energy consumption when compared to a baseline building of similar size and configuration as constructed in accordance with ASHRAE 90.1.
• Extension of roof overhangs and installation of sun shading devices along the southern and western façades of the building will help to reduce building energy consumption.
• Development of an integral green roof will provide added roof insulation to a large portion of the facility, further reducing the buildings energy consumption and limiting stormwater runoff.
• Monitoring of building mechanical equipment and lighting via occupancy sensors, day-lighting control sensors and a building management system which ensures that optimal energy consumption is adjusted based upon environmental conditions.
• Unique mechanical systems have been incorporated into the design of Building E to further exceed baseline building demand for heating and conditioned air. These include the use of displacement ventilation within the lecture hall and a radiant flooring system within the pre-function area that provide both heating and cooling to this high volume space, dependent upon the demands of the space.
The project has been designed to reduce total water consumption through the implementation of several different strategies. These include:
• The planting of indigenous, drought-resistant plant materials, resulting in a landscape where no potable water will be utilized for irrigation.
• Use of electronic dual-flush water closets, ultra low-flow urinal electronic flush valves, low-flow faucets and low-flow showers will reduce yearly consumption of potable water by approximately 205,000 gallons per year, resulting in a 47.8% reduction in annual water consumption when compared to a baseline building of similar size.
• An integrated secondary piping and water treatment system has been designed into this facility for connection to a future reclaimed water utility which is planned by the local municipality. This utility will provide reclaimed water to all flushing fixtures and will result in further reductions in the use of potable water for this facility, when connected.
Coral Reef Ecosystems
Science Research Facility
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
A new research facility for the Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystem Science (CoE CRES), located at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center (NSUOC) in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., will be the only research facility in the United States dedicated to coral reef ecosystem research. Funded in part by a $15 million stimulus grant from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the $38 million facility CoE CRES will encompass all disciplines required for integrated coral reef studies, including geospatial analysis and mapping, biodiversity, plant and animal studies, genomics, and hydrodynamics. The 87,000 SF building will also help CoE CRES significantly increase the quality and quantity of its research and education by replacing outdated facilities, increasing funding options by attracting world-class faculty, and fostering an entrepreneurial, multidisciplinary, collaborative culture through partnerships with other academic institutions and with federal and Industry partners.
To meet CoE CRES’s diverse research requirements, the building includes a lab block with a “spine” of flexible, adaptable laboratory spaces capable of accommodating a wide variety of lab types, ranging from highly wet, seawater-based environments to dry spaces for data and image analysis. Alongside the rectilinear lab block, another block with a façade of sweeping glass arcs inspired by ocean waves contains a range of collaboration and social spaces, a research library, offices, and fieldwork staging and preparation areas. At the intersection of the glass waves are exterior terraces with water views, and interior informal spaces for collaboration and team research.
One of the key components of the CoE CRES is the seawater treatment and distribution system. Raw seawater is pumped from two wells on the site into a 5000 raw seawater treatment tank. The seawater is then sent through a 24-48 hour treatment process through sand filters and protein fractionator/ozone treatment to clean the seawater to a usable level. Once the optimal quality of seawater is achieved, the seawater is transferred to a 5000 gallon clean seawater tank and is circulated around the building via a 750 gallon “degass tower” tank, located in the building penthouse, then by gravity back down to the clean seawater tank. As it is prepared for distribution to the tank in the penthouse, the clean seawater is continuously processed with UV light sterilize the water, through a phosphate reactor to remove built-up phosphates and through a heat exchanger to regulate the temperature of the water to a constant 25 C. Each of these processes can be seen in the Seawater Schematic of the system.
Another component of the building is the Outdoor Research area and Coral Nursery. Additional treatment is used to provide the coral with an excellent environment in which to grow. The flexibility of the various seawater systems will give the researchers the ability to utilize varying water quality in their research.
A treatment system is also utilized to remove any exotics or other substances that may be added to the seawater prior to being disposed.