ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 36

supply air is supplied from strategically located low
velocity overhead diffusers in the lab working lanes
away from fume hoods and heat generating process
equipment. Heat generated at process equipment
creates thermal plumes or convection currents
caused by buoyancy forces that cause local air to
warm and rise above the heating source into the
unoccupied zone. When sensible load is displaced
to the upper zone of the space a reduced amount
of supply air is then required to meet the occupied
space load.
Load calculations were performed using "System
Performance Evaluation and Design Guidelines for
Displacement Ventilation," by Qingyan Chen and
Leon Glicksman (ASHRAE Research Project 949, in
cooperation with TC 5.3, Room Air Distribution,
and TC 4.10, Indoor Environment Modeling). This
resulted in a significant reduction in required
supply air, from 206,085 to 140,290 cfm (97 261 to
66 210 L/s), using a 65°F (18.3°C) supply-air temperature at 50°F (10°C) dew point.
Instead of working as a stand-alone system, the
displacement ventilation system was coupled with
convective chilled beams and low-mass radiant
panels in labs with high sensible loads to move
cooling capacity from air to water. The lab supply air capacity was limited by the exhaust air duct
riser infrastructure, which remained throughout
the building. The new design reduced supply air
to accommodate the lab makeup and air-changeper-hour safety requirements and added convective cooling (chilled beams) to meet the calculated
space-cooling load. Lower supply capacity at the
diffusers means lower pressure drop, smaller fans,
and less energy consumption. Fan horsepower
reductions can be attributed to a reduction in air
movement.
The existing HVAC system was dual-duct constant-volume, which was inefficient compared
with the lab's new, ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2016
energy code-compliant VAV system. The occupied
minimum air change rates per hour (ach) for labs
were reduced from the original design range of 11
to 43 ach, down to 6 ach (consistent with current
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign lab
safety standards).
Savings were achieved with demand-based control
36

ASHRAE JOURNAL

ashrae.org

APRI L 2020

FIGURE 1 Site energy use index (EUI in kBtu/ft2/yr) vs. percent lab space of the total
building. The data set (blue dots) consists of all buildings in the International Institute of
Sustainable Laboratories' benchmarking database; the MRL stats are shown as orange dots.
Site EUI measured at completion (2018) was 202 kBtu/ft2/yr less than baseline.

IMAGE COURTESY G/ BA

2020

ASHRAE TECHNOLOGY AWARD CASE STUDIES

of exhaust fans. The system monitors contaminants within the exhaust plenum and compares the
measurements with predetermined thresholds. If
threshold levels are exceeded, the fan system is triggered, providing higher stack velocity. When sensors indicate "clean" conditions, stack velocity and
fan-power consumption are reduced to a predetermined value that yields a lower dilution level, but is
sufficient for the majority of chemicals used in the
building.
The new DOAS and lab exhaust system fixed
unwanted negative building pressurization that
had previously been caused by insufficient makeup
air. Previously, makeup air was being pulled into
the facility through its window/wall envelope,
truck dock doors, and fire doors. The new system
was designed to actively control the makeup air
entering the building and to use heat-pipe heat
recovery to precool and preheat all incoming
makeup air.
Pressure-independent control valves were
installed at cooling coils to stabilize system flow,
improve comfort, and reduce energy consumption.
Impact of mechanical improvements on the
building was significant, with a total reduction
in site energy use index (EUI) of 202 kBtu/ft2/yr
(2294 MJ/m2/yr).


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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
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 4
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ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover4
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