Science Building Earns LEED Certification with Recycled Materials, Minimum Waste
When faced with the challenges of installing a quiet, energy efficient HVAC system for Eastern Kentucky University’s (EKU’s) new, state-of-theart science building, H&R Mechanical Contractors selected Baltimore Aircoil Company (BAC) PT2 Cooling Towers. The PT2 towers not only solve the energy challenges but are equipped with several features that keep noise to a minimum. The new campus facility, located in Richmond, KY, houses classrooms and labs for the departments of Chemistry, Science, and Physics & Astronomy.
The university focused on building a sustainable, energy efficient facility. The new building meets the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® certification requirements. More than 60 percent of the materials used in the construction were diverted from a landfill. The building was constructed using recycled materials, including the rubble from nearby demolished buildings to create the cement fill, which meant that EKU did not have to truck in expensive cement. The building also has a stream system that traps rainfall and stores it as stormwater and an energy recovery exhaust air ventilation system that allows hot or cold air from the airstream to be recycled using a glycol loop, saving on heating and cooling costs.
To ensure that the HVAC system aligned with the sustainable and environmentally conscious mission of EKU, H&R Mechanical reached out to the local BAC representative for help with the system design. The all-stainless-steel PT2 Cooling Towers are inherently green, as BAC constructs them out of 64-percent recycled content. They exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and have Cooling Technology Institute-certified thermal performance. The PT2 also comes equipped with premium, efficient, cooling tower duty motors. The motors have variable-frequency drives (VFDs) that provide soft starts, conserving energy by gradually ramping up the start speed and preventing high stresses on the belts, bearings, and fans.
Anticipating Future Needs
Another challenge also arose during the design phase. While the new building is not currently located near any residence halls, plans were in the works to build a new residence hall next to it in the coming years. Thus, the project provided significant sound challenges that H&R Mechanical addressed with the PT2’s various low sound options.
Cooling tower motors and fans, as well as the cascading water inside of the tower, can make the sound from the cooling towers noticeable. The BAC PT2 Cooling Towers for EKU were equipped with low sound fans and discharge attenuation to quiet the mechanical components. The issue of cascading water was eliminated with water silencers in the cold water basin. The soft starts from the VFDs on the motors also prevent loud start-up noises.
While energy efficiency and low sound were the primary drivers for selecting the BAC cooling towers, the EKU maintenance team was also concerned about the HVAC system’s durability and ease of preventive maintenance. The team has worked with BAC products in the past on other parts of the EKU campus and wanted a partner they could trust for rigging, support, and service. The PT2 makes maintenance easier with a motor removal system; all motor removal system options include davit arms to facilitate motor rigging, maintenance, and replacement.
The towers are constructed of stainless steel, providing superior corrosion protection. To ensure that maintenance is accessible and safe, H&R Mechanical Contractors worked with EKU and BAC to equip the two cooling towers with ladders and access platforms, which include handrails and safety gates, all of which are OSHA-compliant.
Construction on the EKU New Science Building is complete, and other campus construction continues with more projects on the horizon. Energy efficiency and sustainability remain the driving focus of EKU’s mission, and partnering with local contractors and vendors is important. H&R Mechanical Contractors will continue to provide HVAC support and assistance throughout the life of the equipment, helping EKU conserve energy and resources.
For more information on Baltimore Aircoil Company, visit www.baltimoreaircoil.com/mcaa.