The new facility designed by SmithGroup features a trigeneration system that uses natural gas to generate a portion of the building’s electric power; the recovered heat from the electrical generation provides heating and cooling, as well as hot water and emergency power. This is uniquely combined with a chilled-beam system and heat pump to create a first-of-its-kind system, which is further enhanced by 21.6 kW of photovoltaics on the roof, to significantly reduce annual energy costs and the University’s carbon footprint.
To enhance the building’s educational role, SECS faculty and students can conduct research through an energy dashboard. They have the ability to access data from the trigeneration and chilled beam systems, monitor energy usage and propose improvements to the operation sequence. The facility also boasts a high bay capstone lab, cleanroom, full service machine shop, and rooftop energy lab where students conduct experiments on solar and wind generation. The lobby acts as student demonstration space and corridor windows offer clear views into the project labs, putting science on display.
The building was specifically designed with hands-on, team-based learning spaces to support a variety of interdisciplinary projects and an assortment of collaborative spaces that students can easily reconfigure to support group projects. Students, faculty and staff have noted how the building feels like home with a great deal of activity, ideal places to study and vitality all hours of the day.