Shaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

Shared Facility Helps Technology Grow

By David J. Meyer, P.E., Member ASHRAE; Jaimee Wilson, Ph.D., P.E., BEAP, BEMP, Member ASHRAE; Alfred Rodgers, CPMP, Life Member ASHRAE

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©2019 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 61, no. 3, March 2019.

About the Authors
David J. Meyer, P.E., is a partner, Jaimee Wilson, Ph.D., P.E., is senior energy engineer and associate, and Alfred Rodgers is senior commissioning authority at Pathfinder Engineers & Architects, Rochester, N.Y.

The new Koffman Southern Tier Incubator (KSTI), located in downtown Binghamton, N.Y., is a three-story, 38,000 gross ft2 (32,500 net ft2) facility that provides labs and shared facilities for start-up companies. The purpose of the facility is to provide resources and promote growth until these companies are strong enough to graduate from the incubator.

The facility features 10 wet labs, eight dry labs, one high space area, 22 offices, and common areas. Lab spaces represent 25% of net occupied space. Tenants have access to any available space, admission to all events hosted by the Incubator, and the ability to book the conference or event room.

The project’s HVAC design parameters and corresponding design challenges are shown in Table 1.


HVAC System Description

Key design issues for facility and mechanical systems:

  • Variability of users (tenant turnover);
  • Reliably low operating costs (energy and maintenance);
  • Security (protect proprietary research and development); and
  • Occupant safety (students, public, due to wet lab operations).

The HVAC system has 100% individual zone control through the building management system (BMS) and is divided based on occupancy use. The system includes a hybrid ground source heat pump system (GSHP) pumped through a well field with water-to-water and water-to-air GSHPs. The labs and office spaces are served by water-to-water GSHPs coupled with moderate dual-temperature hydronics and induction chilled beams, with common and public spaces served by water-to-air GSHPs.

The well field is located under the adjacent parking lot directly south of the building. The well field comprises forty 400 ft (122 m) deep vertical bore wells on 20 ft (6 m) centers for a total capacity of 107 tons (376 kW) cooling or 1,170 MBH (343 kW) heating.

A test well was drilled on the site to confirm the thermal performance of the well field on site.

The project site is in an urban area and within a flood plain, and it was expected that drilling would yield ground water conditions, increasing the efficiency of the well field heat transfer ability. Water and silt on-site containment during the drilling process was required by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Wet labs are provided with low flow fume hoods with VAV exhaust and pressurization control. Ventilation and makeup air is provided from three dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS). Each air-handling unit (AHU) has energy recovery and heating/cooling provided by the water-to-water GSHP system. Variable pumping is provided for the GSHP well field and all hydronic loops.

The building orientation takes maximum advantage of solar orientation for daylighting and allows space for future building expansion. Lighting is LED with daylight control. Additionally, the building’s south façade has an integrated solar wall for outside air preheat in winter conditions.

The mechanical systems focus on a minimum distribution system and maximum energy performance, with variable air volume control, heat/energy recovery from exhaust, and very high efficiency heating and cooling equipment.


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