MEP Engineering Design for St. Clair County Community College

May 28, 2014 11:09:26 AM

Existing North Building HVAC Renovation | Port Huron, MI

The existing 2-story SC4 North Building was built in 1920 and has an area of 58,885 gross square feet and 52,574 net square feet. The building houses faculty offices, instructional classrooms, laboratories, a gymnasium, and fitness area. The building’s existing 1970’s vintage HVAC system had passed its useful life and required a replacement. The old HVAC system consisted of room unitary heating and cooling units that had poor climate control and generated excessive noise in the each space. SC4 desired replacing the old HVAC system with a highly energy efficient state of the art HVAC system that could be a show case for their students and the community.

The design team’s challenge for SC4 North Building was to retrofit a 1920 building with the latest technology in the HVAC industry. Another challenge was that the North Building is located in a dense city setting where locating new HVAC equipment is very difficult. In addition, any equipment installed outside could not generate noise to the surrounding area.

The design team utilized a computerized building energy simulation model (Trane Trace energy simulation program) to evaluate multiple HVAC options. The criteria for the HVAC system replacement included a less-than-10-year-payback on additional investment over a conventional base HVAC system and have a high level of substantiality.

The North Building’s existing parking lot was in poor shape and was due for replacement. The design team opted to replace the parking lot and install a new direct buried geoexchange slinky coil system under a new porous pavement parking lot as a source water system for the water to water heat pumps. The new porous parking lot allows water to drain through its surface to the ground source geoexchange system located below. The surface area of the parking lot was 97,590 square feet, the slinky coils were buried an average depth of eight feet, well below any frost condition. The water to water heat pumps through the horizontal ground source geoexchange slinky coils extract heat from the earth in the winter and rejects heat to the ground in the summer.

This project won First Place Chapter and Regional ASHRAE Awards, and Honorable Mention at the Society level. It is an example of MEP engineering work at its finest.

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