The Keck Institute for Space Studies at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena brings great minds together for collaboration. WRL provided engineering and sustainability consulting for Lehrer Architects. The 7,000-sf compound is composed of a new and a renovated historic building. The existing 3,300-sf building was built in 1925. The historic significance builds upon associations with Dr. Tolman, Dr. Bacher, Mrs. Ruth Tolman, and Dr. Albert Einstein. The residence retains almost all of its original... more
The Keck Institute for Space Studies at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena brings great minds together for collaboration. WRL provided engineering and sustainability consulting for Lehrer Architects. The 7,000-sf compound is composed of a new and a renovated historic building. The existing 3,300-sf building was built in 1925. The historic significance builds upon associations with Dr. Tolman, Dr. Bacher, Mrs. Ruth Tolman, and Dr. Albert Einstein. The residence retains almost all of its original integrity today as a single-story, stucco-clad house, with red tiles cover pitched roof, and exposed beam ends. A variable refrigerant system allows for energy recovery between zones ideal for the existing east/west dominate exposures, while the routing of small refrigerant piping allows for minimum impact to the historic fabric of the existing building. The new one-story annex building erected adjacent to the existing building structure totals 3,800-sf. The new building provides a large meeting space and lounge, as well as additional office space. The design employs a hybrid of active-mechanical and passive systems. To promote passive cooling and natural ventilation, operable windows and clerestories are positioned to induce cross-flow and stack type ventilation. CFD analysis early in design allowed for optimal placement of building apertures. Interior lighting incorporates low mercury type T8 lamps or LED. Lighting controls are based on occupancy sensing for interior lighting, and photocells for exterior lighting. Photometric analysis was used to tune fenestration performance and lighting placement. Electrical sub-metering is integrated with the building management system, to allow monitoring of energy end uses. The building was occupied at the start of 2014 and WRL plans to monitor the operation of the building through 2016. less
California Institute of Technology
Westlake Reed Leskosky
(ASHRAE Zone 3B)
Building simulation was utilized throughout the design process, to allow for proper evaluation of energy and water use reduction measures. The relatively dry climate, with good diurnal temperature swings, allows a mixed-mode ventilation strategy to be employed. Computational fluid dynamics analysis was used to fine-tune the placement of apertures for both cross and stack ventilation.
Large sliding glass doors allow for natural ventilation of the main lobby area. The board room can be ventilated through operable louvers at both high and low positions. When cross and stack ventilation are inadequate, the HVAC system can be utilized to provide active exhaust assist.
Price has developed a line of products that support a mixed-mode or natural ventilation approach. The line includes louvers specially designed for ventilation through a wall, as well as fan-assisted stack vents. WRL's experience is that these components are still relatively costly, due to limited adoption. Natural ventilation louvers may also be built-up from individual components, for lower cost.
The existing Tolman-Bacher house is conditioned with an air-source variable refrigerant flow system, with a dedicated ventilation only fan coil unit and space-by-space cooling and heating fan coil units. The new conference center utilizes two high-efficiency roof-top units. This one-to-one provision of system to space allows for load matching and full shut-off of systems when a space is not in use.
Packaged rooftop equipment represents the highest market share of the commercial HVAC market. This equipment has traditionally not been designed for efficiency, but rather for lowest first cost. In 2011, the Department of Energy announced a high-efficiency rooftop program. The Daikin McQuay Rebel line was the first to meet the DOE requirements, with an energy profile over 70% better than required by code. Units have approximately a 20-30% higher first cost versus standard efficiency rooftop units and are aimed for institutional and commercial clients interested in lower total cost of ownership. Units are available in capacities up to 12 tons.
Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems (also known as VRV) have been successfully used for over 25 years, first in Asia, then in Europe. VRF systems allow multiple indoor fan coil units to be served from a single condensing unit, with some systems capable of simultaneous cooling and heating. Systems are known for high efficiency and application flexibility. Indoor fan coil units use Sirrocco type fans, which have a low acoustic footprint. Designers must use care to provide sufficient access to fan coil units for filter change and also consider ASHRAE 15 refrigeration safety requirements. The Mitsubishi system uses a two-pipe refrigerant piping network; other manufacturers use a three-pipe system. WRL will provide commentary on two-pipe versus three-pipe systems as a separate blog post. Units are available in water-source or air-source configurations. Application note (March 2013): designers should use care when specifying twinned water-source VRF units in a variable condenser water flow application. Units are not able to natively modulate an associated control valve. Previously published application guides incorrectly indicated this as a design feature. For designers looking for variable flow applications, consider units by LG or Daikin, which are available with a specialized control module.
The project will utilize PV production from one of Caltech's utility scale PV arrays. These are typically located above major parking structures, to provide shading. Due to significant shading from existing trees on site, on-site systems were not feasible.
The main board room is expected to have highly variable use, with up to 70 occupants during major presentations, to as few as 2 persons, during smaller worksessions. Systems are designed to modulate ventilation air based on carbon dioxide levels.
A mixed-mode natural ventilation scheme is utilized and can be controlled through an LCD touch-pad. This allows for automatic operation of low and high level louvers.
LEED-NC v3.0 Platinum
48% + (ASHRAE 90.1-2007)