University of Chicago, Campus North Residence Hall and Baker Dining Commons

Chicago, IL

University of Chicago, Campus North exterior


Grumman|Butkus Associates provided commissioning services for the new Campus North Residence Hall and Frank and Laura Baker Dining Commons. This 800-bed residence hall and 400-seat dining commons is located near the core of the University of Chicago. The design, by architecture firm Studio Gang, reflects the university’s ongoing commitment to creating an unrivaled student experience. The 384,000-square-foot facility is intended to become a dynamic hub for campus life. In addition to residences, the building includes retail space. The heating and cooling systems are radiant, with the potential for incorporation of geothermal, solar thermal, or other innovative technologies.

The project, which was completed in 2016, achieved LEED Gold status.


As a Cx provider, GBA’s service in the design phase includes commissioning scoping meetings and providing assistance with the Owner Project Requirements (OPR) and the project Basis of Design (BOD). During design, GBA reviews major issuances of design-phase contract documents for verification that equipment and systems comply with the BOD and OPR, that systems can be commissioned, that systems and components are maintainable and accessible, that systems and configurations are optimized for energy efficiency, that the design of the building automation and energy management systems can achieve the control requirements and energy efficiency defined in the OPR and BOD, that the control systems requirements are clearly defined, that the sequence of operations and of control are clear and well defined, that the requirements of related equipment are included in the design and that integration is adequately addressed.

GBA provided complete Cx services through construction for all mechanical; plumbing; life safety; and building automation, controls and metering systems. Systems included:

  • Central heating hot-water boiler plant and chilled water heat exchangers utilizing the campus chilled water system, including variable-speed pumps
  • Space cooling and heating at each dwelling unit, which will be provided with a radiant slab system. (Ventilation air will be supplied with a dedicated outside unit with a fixed-plate sensible heat recovery coil.)
  • Custom variable air volume (VAV) air handling units (AHUs) serving the common areas, including energy recovery with enthalpy wheels
  • Toilet exhaust system
  • Variable-volume kitchen exhaust and make-up air systems
  • BAS control systems
  • Domestic water heating plant with solar-thermal preheat system
  • Electrical lighting controls and emergency power generators

GBA’s Cx services continued through a post-commissioning period of two years. The firm coordinated and supervised quarterly site visits to verify that systems continued to operate as intended, to update the Systems Manual as applicable, and to assist the university and facility staff in developing reports, documents, and requests for services to remedy outstanding problems. As part of the overall Cx scope, GBA provided LEED consultation and support. This work included reviewing LEED IAQ and EA LEED documents, such as the IAQ testing plan, flush-out procedure, measurement and verification plan, and measurement and verification final report.

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