ASHRAE Recognizes Seitz Lab Project With International Technology Award

GBA News

G/BA’s renovation of a materials science lab building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been honored with the ASHRAE Technology Award.

The firm’s project at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory received First Place in the Educational Facilities – Existing Buildings category. The project was previously awarded the 2018 Excellence in Engineering award by the ASHRAE Illinois Chapter, as well as the 2019 ASHRAE Region VI Technology Award. The Society-level Technology Award competition is an international program that recognizes ASHRAE members who design and/or conceive innovative technological concepts that are proven through actual operating data.

The Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, a 123,000-square-foot building providing about 50,000 square feet of lab space, was the subject of a phased HVAC renovation, performed after a G/BA feasibility study of five engineering facilities on the UIUC campus. Five major air-handling units were replaced with two central dual-path (outside and return air), low-velocity AHUs. Seventy lab exhaust fans were replaced with three high-plume exhaust fans with heat pipe energy recovery. Air distribution was changed from high-velocity, dual-duct air terminal to low-velocity displacement ventilation, variable-air-volume systems. New AHUs were installed outside the existing penthouse and brought on line in phases to allow continuous use of the building.

The project also included a cleanroom renovation that upgraded a 4,000-square-foot lab to achieve ISO 8 classification for student development and manufacturing of silicon wafer integrated circuit boards.

The HVAC upgrades saved the university about $724,000 in 2019 in energy and water costs, a reduction of more than 45% from the baseline.

G/BA staff for the project included Mike McDermott (Project Manager and lead mechanical engineer); design engineers Joel Freeman, David Nelson, Eric Huber, William Wylie, and Jeff Cochran; and Chad Luning (Principal-in-Charge). The work was delivered as an Energy Performance Contract by Energy Systems Group (ESG). G/BA acknowledges the efforts of collaborating firms and their teams, including:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Josh Whitson, Kent Reifsteck, David Green, John Prince, Thad Bales, Craig Grant, Daren Evans, Sonja Koric, Joseph Youakim)
  • Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory (Kristopher Williams, Doug Jeffers, James Mabon, Jerry Cook, Joe Kunkle)
  • ESG (Mario Zotta, Jim Cantrell, Bill Bermingham, Amber Vega, David Brewer, Kitty Knauz, Sylvia McIvor)
  • Bailey Edward, architect (Karla Smalley)
  • RME (Rubinos & Mesia Engineers), structural engineer (Rob Zofkie, Sean Kwon)
  • Primera Engineers, electrical engineer (Kris Kotowski, Craig Anderson)
  • Davis-Houk Inc., mechanical contractor (Jeff Stewart, Chris Rennels)
  • Davis Electric, electrical contractor (Roger Henning)
  • Siemens, controls (Steve Carithers, Russ Patrick, Duane White)
  • Carnow, Conibear & Assoc., Ltd., environmental services (Todd Huffer)

Chad Luning traveled to Orlando to represent G/BA at the awards ceremony last month (above). Mario Zotta of ESG also attended the event. Dr. Mohamed Attalla, Executive Director of Facilities & Services, accepted the award for UIUC.

A technical article with additional details about the project will appear later this year in ASHRAE Journal.

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