New Physical Sciences Complex, Phase I and SCUB Expansion

New construction; New Physical Sciences Complex, Phase I and SCUB Expansion; Global Engineering Solutions


This rendering shows Phase I of the New Physical Sciences Complex. Courtesy: HDR Inc.Engineering firm: Global Engineering Solutions
2013 MEP Giants rank:
New Physical Sciences Complex, Phase I and SCUB Expansion
College Park, Md., United States
Building type:
School (college, university)
Project type:
New construction
Engineering services:
Electrical/Power, Fire & Life Safety, HVAC
Project timeline:
August 2007 to September 2013
Engineering services budget:
$40 million
MEP budget: $50 million


Global Engineering Solutions (GES) provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering support services in conjunction with HDR for a state-of-the-art research/teaching facility to house the departments of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute of Physical Science and Technology. This signature building will serve as the cornerstone of a three-building complex designed to bring continued recognition of the university's nationally ranked science programs. The 160,000-sq ft facility will house specialized laboratory spaces designed to meet strict criteria for vibration sensitive and electromagnetic interference control. The facility also includes standard research laboratories and faculty offices. A café, lounges, and open areas are provided to encourage interaction and collaboration among the disciplines.


The new Physical Sciences Complex (PSC) and the adjoining residential facilities will be served by a central chilled water cooling plant located in the Computer Space Science Complex Wing 4 (CSS-SCUB). The existing chilled water plant has a current capacity of 550 tons, which will be upgraded during Phase I to the approximate capacity of 3,850 tons. Because the university has a central plant system, GES developed two alternatives for the chilled water plant: a primary/secondary chilled water plant and a thermal energy storage facility which utilizes ice storage in a buried vault. GES developed a lifecycle cost analysis for each scenario to assist the university with final selection of the system.

Heating for the PSC Wings 1, 2, and 3 will be supplied from the campus high-pressure steam line. Steam to hot water heat exchangers, located in the mechanical space of the PSC Wing 1, will be utilized to produce heating and domestic hot water that will be distributed to the PSC Wings 1, 2, and 3. Since the CSS-SCUB was originally designed to support 1600 tons of cooling and currently contains 550 tons of cooling, the existing electrical distribution will be upgraded in order to support the new chillers, cooling towers, and associated pumps. Circuit breakers and feeders from existing switchboards and motor control centers will be provided to support the new air conditioning equipment for PSC Phase I.

This project was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, with an anticipated 46 points total project score, including points for innovative water use reduction, and enhanced refrigerant management. GES developed the building energy model, as per the LEED requirements, which showed an energy savings of 18% over ASHRAE Standard 90.1.

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