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Lessons Learned From ASHRAE HQ Renovation

©2014 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 56, no. 4, April 2014.

By Michael R. Vaughn, P.E., Member ASHRAE

About the Author
Michael R. Vaughn, P.E., is senior manager research & technical services at ASHRAE in Atlanta

George Washington once said, “We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” Since it has been more than five years of occupancy since ASHRAE Headquarters was renovated, this is a good time to revisit the details of the renovation project, the successes, and lessons learned. Future articles will delve deeper into the performance of the various building systems, satisfaction of building occupants, and the new data serving portal.

The original building was constructed in 1965 and was occupied by an insurance company until ASHRAE purchased it in 1980 and relocated to Atlanta from New York City.
ASHRAE did its first major renovation in 1990 by gutting the interior, updating the mechanical systems, installing a new insulated glass curtain wall system, and abating asbestos materials on the interior.

The building was extensively renovated again in 2007–08 and approximately 4,000 ft2 (371 m2) of space was added to the existing 30,000 ft2 (2800 m2) building. A significant portion of this larger building was used to create the new ASHRAE Foundation Learning Center, which allows ASHRAE to host large meetings and training sessions on-site. For comparison, the old building had six meeting rooms totaling 2,000 ft2 (185 m2), and the new building has triple the number of meeting rooms and four times the amount of meeting space.

The building is unique in that it contains three mechanical systems for heating, cooling and ventilation:

  1. Dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) for first and second floor ventilation;
  2. Variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system with heat recovery for first floor heating and cooling; and
  3. Ground source heat pump (GSHP) system for second floor heating and cooling.

Lessons Learned

Living Lab

The reason for having three mechanical systems was to achieve the goal of creating a “Living Lab” for ongoing research by the Society and its members. More than 1,300 points are monitored and stored on the systems and spaces in this building. The stored and real-time data are then made available to our members around the world via Internet. Only a small group of building owners would allow their building to be used in such a fashion.

ASHRAE hopes to learn more about the long-term operation, maintenance and performance of buildings with the various types of systems used throughout this project. We also hope to link to similar data from other high performance buildings around the world so that our website can someday serve as a Web portal to this type of data.

Lesson Learned
A need was identified through this project for developing a standard naming convention for data points so that such information can be easily used across all projects and understood by various parties.


Second Floor System

The second floor and north stairwell are conditioned for heating and cooling using 12 ceiling-mounted ducted, 17.45-21.07 EER, ground source heat pumps (GSHP) with a two-stage scroll compressor, and two-speed fan; two non-ducted console heat pumps for the north stairwell; a geothermal field of 12, 400 ft (122 m) deep wells, and a closed-loop piping sstem that circulates water (no glycol) between the building and the wells (system capacity 32 tons [113 kW] total). Average ground temperature assumed for design was 63°F (17°C).


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