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.


 
 
In our field we frequently deal with applications where we use wall penetrations to relieve and intake air. It could be the need for bathroom exhaust, makeup air intake, emergency purge exhaust, or even general building pressure intake or relief. For this case-study, it is for emergency generator intake and exhaust at a new-construction project for the Erie County Medical Center. If the building loses power and the emergency generators are required to kick on, the dampers will open to allow combustion airflow into the space. 

For this application the dampers will be closed 99% of the time. The space within is still conditioned (heated and cooled) and energy loss through wall penetrations can be great if not properly considered with a preventative approach. This was a legitimate concern for the design engineers. The wall cavity sections at ECMC are large - roughly 100 square feet a piece. They know that in order to maintain a high-performing energy system they will need to minimize all wasted energy through this area.