ASHRAE Illinois Honors Three GBA Projects


Three G/BA projects, including two lab facilities and a hospital, have been recognized by ASHRAE’s Illinois Chapter with 2020 Excellence in Engineering Awards.

University of Chicago Gordon Center for Integrative Science

The University of Chicago’s Gordon Center for Integrative Science was the subject of an existing building commissioning project (education category). The GCIS is a 427,000-square-foot laboratory building constructed in 2005. As part of a large-scale, multi-year retro-commissioning initiative (the university’s PM+Cx program), the building received an assessment, investigation, and implementation of energy-saving recommendations. Four Facility Improvement Measures (addressing systems issues) and 16 Energy Conservation Measures were offered by the G/BA team. The ECMs yielded a total of 2.2 million kWh in electricity savings and 35,000 Mlb in steam savings, with a bundled simple payback of 2.1 years (including utility incentives). Some measures were selected for immediate implementation, and others were selected for future implementation requiring additional budget.

Steam accounted for most of the building’s energy use (59% at assessment), and the greatest steam savings resulted from AHU heat recovery optimization. Most of the electricity savings were the result of building-wide airflow reductions, especially from reducing minimum airflow rates for offices and conference rooms. G/BA Project Manager Tim Shinnick was the lead mechanical engineer on the project, which was under the overall direction of Associate Kurt Matsen and Principal-in-Charge John Villani. Other staff playing key roles included George Ioannou, Justin D’Arcy, and Gwen Hughes.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab

The Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received an award for renovation design of educational facilities. The subject of a larger Energy Performance Contract for selected engineering buildings at UIUC, done in collaboration with Energy Systems Group (ESG), this lab includes cleanrooms, general purpose labs, and a 2,500-square-foot Biosafety Level 2 bio-nanotechnology complex. The project involved a 4,000-square-foot renovation in an existing atrium to create new modular cleanroom space (ISO Class 5, 6, and 7) for student development and manufacturing of silicon wafer integrated circuit boards. It also provided building-wide energy and water conservation measures, including strategies focused on eight existing Class 100 (ISO Class 5) cleanrooms and eight existing Class 1,000 (ISO Class 6) cleanrooms.

The energy-conserving design involved humidity control modifications to mitigate simultaneous heating and cooling; a new demand-controlled ventilation system for the cleanrooms; and cleanroom occupancy sensors. An aquifer below the building, collected in a pit and previously pumped to the sewer, was exploited to feed four scrubbers that clean the building exhaust, eliminating the need to use once-through city water for this purpose. The project at full implementation saved more than 30% a year in utility costs. G/BA Associate Tim Jendrycki was the lead mechanical engineer for the effort, under the direction of Principal-in-Charge Chad Luning. Other key G/BA staff included Joel Freeman, Bill Wylie, Mike McDermott, Reyad Naser, David Nelson, and Inna Gorelik. ESG team leads were Mario Zotta and Kitty Knauz.

UHS Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center

Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, NV, was the subject of an award-winning healthcare existing building commissioning project. The hospital’s owner, Universal Health Services, has hired G/BA for a multi-year, combination retro-commissioning and monitoring-based commissioning initiative at numerous system hospitals, aiming to save at least 20% in HVAC energy costs at the target facilities. The 395,761-square-foot Spring Valley Hospital has 292 beds. G/BA conducted multiple site visits and worked with site staff to review operating procedures, equipment operation, and drawings and specs, and discuss any known deficiencies. Some preliminary functional testing was also conducted. The chiller plant, boiler plant, and each of 24 major air-handling units were reviewed and were the subject of optimization with energy saving measures, such as DAT reset, static pressure reset, economizer optimization, temperature resets, scheduling, pump differential pressure resets, and other adjustments. Additional measures have been identified through a monitoring-based commissioning platform, and more facility changes are under consideration.

At the time of award submission the project had already realized a 20% HVAC energy cost reduction over 12 months, with a program simple payback of 4.4 years. The overall UHS RCx/MBCx program, and the Spring Valley project, were under the direction of G/BA Project Manager Fiona Martin McCarthy, with oversight by Principal-in-Charge John Villani. Key G/BA staff for the Spring Valley work included David Cohen, Samuel Schmidt, Alex Schultz, Justin D’Arcy, David Schaefer, Sumeta Medicherla, and Gwen Hughes.

The three projects will go on to compete in the ASHRAE Region VI awards program this spring.

G/BA congratulates its clients and team members for these innovative engineering design and retro-commissioning efforts, combining energy efficiency and long-term sustainability.

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