ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 35

2020 ASHRAE TECHNOLOGY AWARD CASE STUDIES

The Materials Research Laboratory (MRL) fosters cuttingedge interdisciplinary research, including condensed
matter physics, materials chemistry, and materials
science. A phased $15 million HVAC renovation replaced
all major systems serving the fully occupied, 123,000 ft2
(11,427 m2) building ($121/ft2, or $1,313/m2).
Five major and eight smaller
air-handling units (AHUs) were
replaced with two central, dualpath (outside and return air), lowvelocity AHUs. Sixty lab exhaust
fans were replaced with three
high-plume exhaust fans, operating with a dedicated outside air
system (DOAS) with heat-pipe
heat recovery. Air distribution
was changed from high-velocity,
dual-duct constant volume to
low-velocity displacement ventilation, variable-air-volume
systems. Passive chilled beams
with convective, low-velocity air
movement were used in labs with
high sensible loads, and low-mass
radiant cooling panels were used
in electron microscope labs.
A cleanroom renovation created a 4,000 ft2 (372 m2) ISO 7
lab for student development and
manufacturing of silicon-waferintegrated circuit boards. An electron microscope lab renovation
created a 500 ft2 (47 m2) ISO 8 lab
suite, which featured non-metallic ductwork/piping and ultralow-velocity displacement ventilation, coupled with high-mass
radiant cooling panels for precise
space temperature control.

(250 to 350 fpm or 1.27 to 1.78 m/s)
to reduce pressure loss, greatly
reducing fan power draw versus
the traditional 500 fpm (2.54 m/s)
face velocity.
Preheating/precooling of outside air is provided using a refrigerant-coil heat-recovery system
that recovers energy from the lab
exhaust with passive refrigerant
coils. Heat recovery is located in
the DOAS rather than the mixed
airstream, to maximize heat
transfer between the two airstreams and to eliminate pressure
drop during economizer-mode
operation.
Displacement ventilation was
an important aspect of the HVAC
system design to lower supply air
rates in sensible load dominated
labs while improving the IAQ for
lab occupants. Fresh conditioned

Building at a Glance
Materials Research
Laboratory
Location: Urbana, Ill.
Owner: Univeristy of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Principal Use: Education facility, research laboratory
Gross Square Feet: 123,000

Energy Efficiency
AHUs were selected to operate at
low velocity across coils and filters
Michael McDermott, is a project manager at Grumman/
Butkus Associates, Evanston, Ill.

Substantial Completion/Occupancy: The building was fully
occupied throughout. December 2018 was the official
completion date.
Occupancy: 34 staff, 15 faculty, 52 researchers (graduate
students, postdoctoral associates, and visitors)



ASHRAE Journal - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - April 2020

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 3
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ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover4
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