Environmental Services Laboratory Relocation

New construction: Environmental Services Laboratory Relocation; Erdman Anthony


The completed South Florida Water Management District Building project is shown. (Click to enlarge)Project name: Environmental Services Laboratory Relocation

Location: West Palm Pearch, Fla.

Firm name: Erdman Anthony

Project type, building type: New construction, research/lab/high-tech

Project duration: 2.5 years

Project completion date: Feb. 29, 2012

Project budget for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection engineering only: $4.2 Million

This photo shows the exhaust vents on the roof. (Click to Enlarge)Engineering challenges

Challenge 1: The owner desired to equip the building with a generator sized to provide backup electrical power for the entire building, including HVAC and those systems necessary to sustain normal operations. The challenge in achieving this requirement was to balance the cost of providing a generator sized to withstand the inrush associated with the simultaneous restart of motor-driven equipment with that of a generator sized to handle just steady-state loading.

Challenge 2: Another challenge was to devise a lighting control system that could execute a complex scheme whereby traditional manual switching was required during normal operating hours and automatic control, using occupancy sensors, was desired during off hours.


Solution 1: After evaluating the cost of both options, the design team settled on a generator with a lower rating sized basically to handle only the steady state loads. The inrush issue was resolved by providing a control scheme, implemented via the BAS, which would stagger the restart of major equipment upon transfer to generator power. This solution not only reduced the upfront cost of the backup power system but also minimized the overall space required for the system.

Solution 2: To achieve this, local lighting controllers were used on each floor, which not only achieved the desired functionality but also provided the owner with the luxury of making future control changes via simple programming without the need for rewiring.

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