Case Study: Consulting Engineering

Richards College of Business

University of West GeorgiaCarrollton, Georgia

A Facility Designed for Educational Flexibility and Collaboration

The University of West Georgia had a vision to combine two aging buildings into one state-of-the-art facility for the College of Business. Designed for educational flexibility and collaboration, the new, 64,000 SF Roy Richards Sr. Hall represents a continuing commitment to the state's investment in communities and businesses.

The Challenges

  • Find an HVAC solution that blends the University's standard approach to office areas with a high-performance design for densely occupied spaces
  • Exceed the Georgia Peach Green Building Rating System's energy efficiency standards
  • Minimize energy consumption and prioritize occupant comfort within a tight budget
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The Richards College of Business has a significant impact on the economic development of our state, connecting its more than 2,000 students to careers in economy. Created with Sketch.

Teresa MacCartney

Acting Chancellor, University System of Georgia

The Solutions

The three-story College of Business building offers a multi-functional space that combines offices, classrooms, learning labs, and lecture halls. The facility also features a blended HVAC approach, combining the university’s standard approach for office areas with a high-performance design for densely occupied spaces. By taking this diverse approach, CMTA was able to find innovative ways to reduce energy consumption. Additionally, the university was able to implement a new HVAC system type to explore, all while staying within a tight budget.

With two different HVAC system approaches, the building required multiple hydronic loops for heating and cooling. These loops included chilled water (CW) for air handling equipment, hot water (HW) for VAV reheating, and heat pump (HP) loop for WSHPs. Waste heat from the chiller and WSHPs is expelled into the atmosphere through an open condenser loop. To utilize the waste heat from the heat pump loop during the summer, a series of valves was installed between the hot water and heat pump loops. This allows the waste heat to be used to preheat the hot water loop. Conversely, the same piping injects heat into the heat pump loop during the winter. As a result, this design prevents the boilers from running in the hot months, providing free reheating. Additionally, the design eliminates the need for combustibles on site for summer reheat, as the reheat coils are designed for 90°F water.

The program’s split nature allowed the design team to use distributed water-source heat pumps (WSHP) and a Dedicated Outside Air Unit (DOAS) for the lecture hall and classrooms, while a traditional VAV AHU serves the office areas. The minimum outside air required for the AHU is pre-treated with a plate air-to-air heat exchanger, extracting waste heat from the code-required exhaust. This eliminated 5.2 tons of cooling and 120.3 MBH of heating.

Additionally, the design team significantly emphasized the building’s envelope design. ASHRAE 90.1-2013 calls for R-13 batt insulation with R-7.5 continuous insulation (CI) for the exterior walls. Instead of typical foam board CI, the design team recommended installing a 2-1/2” layer of foamed-in-place closed cell insulation. The closed cell system provided a built-in vapor barrier and reduced the potential for leaks within the thermal envelope, allowing the HVAC system to be downsized by 15%. To check the envelope’s performance, they conducted a building pressure test before occupancy, checking all major envelope joints with a thermal camera for unexpected leaks.

Georgia Peach Program

The state of Georgia employs a custom program to recognize state-owned buildings that optimize energy performance, reduce water consumption, utilize local materials and furnishings, and protect Georgia’s natural resources. Buildings are rated on a scale of one to four “Peaches.” Projects must include water-use reduction, Georgia-based materials, and fundamental commissioning to be certified, with energy modeling, life cycle cost analysis, and enhanced commissioning earning incentive points.

As a state-owned facility, the University is required to comply with the Georgia Peach Green Building Rating System. The Richards College of Business building achieved three out of four possible peaches. Due to the design team’s energy conservation measures, the building achieved the highest possible score for the Peach Program’s energy points.

The Results

Due to the energy saving measures implemented on the project, the Richards College of Business building exceeded energy efficiency standards set by the state. While the Peach Program’s baseline energy usage is 48.2 EUI, one year of data has revealed that the building’s actual energy usage is 27.3 EUI—a 43% improvement over baseline requirements.

Additionally, the building boasts an annual savings of approximately 266 MTCO2e, as well as water reduction and natural resource protection. CMTA was proud to provide the University of West Georgia College of Business students with an educationally flexible, energy-efficient facility.

UWGA College of Business