University of Illinois at Chicago, Molecular Biology Research Building

Chicago, IL

UIC, Molecular Biology Research Building, exterior


GBA provided energy audit services through the Illinois Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) for this 242,000-square-foot laboratory building on an urban college campus. Thirteen energy cost reduction measures (ECRMs) were identified. The estimated annual energy savings were 3,841,553 kWh and 486,159 therms, for an annual total cost savings of $844,483.


University of Illinois/360 Energy Group, Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC), Most Recognized Savings Potential Award, 2013

Energy Audit

Four of the energy cost reduction measures identified in this study focused on converting the air distribution system from constant volume to variable volume and recovering heat from exhaust, while reducing occupancy-related energy usage.

  • Air valves would be installed in each room for the supply, general exhaust, and fume hood exhaust.
  • Variable frequency drives would be added to the supply and exhaust fans.
  • The design airflow for each room would be reduced from 15 air changes per hour to 10 air changes per hour.
  • Laboratory air-handling units were designed for 100% outside air. A heat recovery loop would be added to reduce heating and cooling costs.

One air-handling unit serves office space and an auditorium. Two measures suggested optimizing the control of this unit.

  • The VAV boxes could be scheduled based on occupancy to reduce the airflow.
  • The static pressure setpoint for the air-handling unit could be reset based on the system demand.

One measure suggested trimming the impellers for constant-flow chilled water and condenser water pumps. Another measure suggested opening the balancing valves for variable-flow hot water pumps controlled by VFDs.

In addition to energy cost reduction measures, several operation and maintenance issues were identified to help improve indoor air quality while maintaining efficient use of staff hours.

View More Projects

Interested in learning more about how GBA can assist with your facility objectives? Our portfolio is a great place to start. 

Skyscraper board room

430 N. Michigan (Realtor Building)

A large-scale vertical expansion called on GBA's analytical, design, and commissioning skills.

Hallway with rehab equipment

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Pediatric & DayRehab Center

This outpatient center serves children and adults; GBA provided engineering design services for the adaptive reuse project.

Exterior of Todd Building, University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky, Lee T. Todd, Jr. Building

An ASHRAE Level 1 audit,  retro-commissioning, and a lab ventilation assessment improved sustainability.