UPDATE - 02/07/2012

Cannon Design has just informed us that this project successfully achieved a LEED Gold certification, an upgrade from the LEED Silver that was originally achieved. See more on this project HERE

About

   Design began on the Buffalo State Housing building in 2009 and the building was complete for the Fall Semester of 2011. Restrictions/goals on this project included budget and LEED certification, which can be somewhat conflicting goals.
  
   The building was divided into typical 4 bedroom suites including kitchens and living rooms with some studio and RA/RD suites interspersed. Each suite is equipped with its own heat pump for individual temperature control. These suites are typical and stacked through each floor of the building, so the loop water is routed through each of the top floors of the wings and follows the heat pump stacks down to the lower floors. This proved to be a very efficient way of routing the loop water.

System Selection

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After analysis of various HVAC strategies including fan coil units, PTACS, and variable air volume systems, heat pumps were chosen as an appropriate system because of their efficient nature and ability to do simultaneous heating and cooling. A VAV system was nearly impossible because of the low floor to floor heights. The benefit of a heat pump system is that the energy is transported around the building in the more efficient medium of water rather than air.

The building was divided into typical 4 bedroom suites including kitchens and living rooms with some studio and RA/RD suites interspersed. Each suite is equipped with its own heat pump for individual temperature control. These suites are typical and stacked through each floor of the building, so the loop water is routed through each of the top floors of the wings and follows the heat pump stacks down to the lower floors. This proved to be a very efficient way of routing the loop water.

The loop water is pumped from a mechanical room on the 8th floor of the building. Incorporated into this loop are 2 boilers in the mechanical room and 3 closed circuit fluid coolers that sit on the roof outside the mechanical room.
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Here's a look at the rooftop cooling towers outside of the mechanical room
   The corridors of the building are served from a separate system involving make-up air rooftop units with plate energy recovery. The ventilation air ducted to the corridors provides the make-up air for what is exhausted out of the toilet rooms of the suites. Ventilation for the individual suites is addressed with operable windows that also provide occupants with another degree of temperature control.
   There are a few specialty spaces served by the heat pumps such as: electrical and data rooms, mail room, and resident director office. There is also a laundry room on the first floor served by a dedicated ventilation unit triggered by the pressure difference created by the dryer exhaust.

Conclusion

In addition to providing an efficient mechanical system at a low cost, the design team was also tasked with LEED certification with a goal of silver. This was partially accomplished by reaching a level of 28% energy reduction over the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline model using the energy modeling program eQuest. In addition, the mechanical systems assisted in reaching the goal of LEED silver with enhanced refrigeration management, thermal controllability of system and thermal comfort design.
 - Lauren Blas, 01/19/12
 


Eric Lindstrom
02/07/2012 5:51am

Thanks for givng this project some attention. As an update, we received word this week that the "StAC" has achieved LEED Gold certification! Not bad for a project with a shoestring budget.

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