The Wilson College Complex for Science, Mathematics and Technology is a 76,500 square foot facility housing teaching and research labs, classrooms, offices, an auditorium and a natural history museum. Wilson College is committed to environmental sustainability, and that commitment guided the design of the science complex, including the decision to seek LEED® certification.  Michaels Energy, as a subconsultant to Credo Higher Education, provided HVAC, electrical and plumbing engineering, and served as the LEED® Accredited Professional and Project Administrator.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Features

Laboratory facilities require large amounts of fresh air ventilation and tight control of temperature, humidity and room pressurization.  To satisfy these requirements while maximizing energy efficiency, Michaels researched alternatives to the typical variable air volume reheat systems typically used to heat, cool and ventilate these facilities.  This resulted in the decision to incorporate a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS).

The DOAS uses two energy recovery wheels, along with heating and cooling coils, to pre-condition 100% outdoor air to room-neutral conditions.  Under most conditions, about 70% of the ventilation air heating, cooling humidification and dehumidification is provided by heat and moisture transfer between the exhaust and outdoor air streams.

This preconditioned air is distributed throughout the building via corridor ceiling plenums, and is drawn into individual laboratories to offset fume hood and general exhausts.  Local fan-coil units in each space trim the space temperature as required.  A digital control system adjusts ventilation based on occupancy, sensed through a combination occupancy sensors, lighting operation and fume hood sash movement.

Additional energy efficiency and sustainability features include:

  • Daylighting in perimeter offices, combined with multi-level indirect lighting
  • High efficiency condensing boilers
  • Water-side free cooling in the winter using dry fluid coolers
  • Dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals and ultra low-flow faucet aerators
  • Low-emitting adhesives, finishes and carpet systems
  • Solar water heating

An additional benefit to Wilson College for choosing to incorporate a dedicated outdoor air system, as well as other efficient technologies, is the opportunity to partner with West Penn Power.  The West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund is helping Wilson College fund the DOAS as well as the solar water heating system.