Case Study: Consulting Engineering

Jacobs Science Building

University of KentuckyLexington, Kentucky

Enriching Student Life with Energy Efficiency

A regional leader in higher education, the University of Kentucky recently demolished three outdated buildings and constructed a brand-new Jacobs Academic Sciences building. Housing lab spaces, classrooms, and TEAL (technology enhanced active learning) rooms, the new Academic Sciences building required CMTA to provide detailed energy modeling as part of the data driven design.

The Challenges

  • Achieving energy savings while maintaining lab safety
  • Assessing every energy-using system in the building
  • Providing a modern learning environment for University of Kentucky students
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This building is transformative for teaching science on this campus. Created with Sketch.

Mark Kornbluh

Arts & Sciences Dean

The Solutions

The University of Kentucky contracted CMTA to provide engineering consulting services for the design and construction of their new 263,000 square foot Academic Sciences building. Our expertise in energy modeling and Data Driven Design was relied upon to select a mechanical system for the building while maintaining safe laboratory environments. Multiple system options, including chilled beams, were analyzed on a life cycle cost basis. These efforts resulted in changes to the campus standards, creating greatly reduced airflow in the labs during unoccupied hours.

Moreover, the University was interested in achieving energy savings throughout the new building. One of the recurring comments about the previous lab building was that the interior spaces lacked any natural light. Extensive efforts were made to provide a façade design with extensive glazing, 40% of the overall walls, that utilized multiple shading techniques and provided views to the outside while minimizing direct sunlight and reducing thermal loads. The shading techniques incorporated into the design included large overhangs, vertical columns angled to maximize shading, and horizontal slats integrated into the glazing system for critical areas.

Another factor that was important to the University was the learning environment that the building would provide upon completion. The classroom acoustics were a key component for the University, as well as incorporating a great deal of natural light. CMTA was able to design an HVAC system for the lab spaces that provides up to forty air changes per hour – a lot of air flow – while remaining below industry standards for noise generation.

Advanced Learning

The TEAL classrooms leverage state-of-the-art audiovisual technologies to improve the group learning experience. The integrated groups can vary in size from 6 to 120 people, depending on the needs of each student and professor. having the ability to display content from their electronic device to monitors and projection screens throughout the space. These rooms currently track a usage rate of over 85% throughout the day as they are in demand well beyond just the Science departments.

The Results

We were able to help the University of Kentucky save money with a focus on energy efficiency in their brand-new 263,000 square foot Academic Sciences building. By engineering a new solution to laboratory energy usage – an exhaust system that can be turned off when not in use – CMTA saved the University $50,000 annually through the fume hood airflow reductions alone. In addition, our site-wide audit of all the energy-using systems meant that the new building could be included in the University’s central energy plant system while still reducing energy usage by 37% over the baseline building.

The overall result of this project is a beautiful, energy-efficient building that is a destination for students, even when they aren’t in class. The energy cost savings gives the University more opportunities to enrich the lives of their student population, while the open atrium and public seating areas provide gathering spaces that didn’t exist in student laboratory buildings on the University of Kentucky’s campus before.

Jacobs Science Building Energy Use

What does this data mean?
Baseline: AIA 2030 Annual Energy Use Goal
Actual: The measured energy use of this project