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©2017 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 59, no. 4, April 2017

By Carrie Kelty, P.E., Member ASHRAE.

About the Author
Carrie Kelty is a mechanical engineer at CMTA in Lexington, Ky.

Berea College students first harvested wood for a new college dorm in Kentucky. Then, they used mules to transport the logs, milled them, and shipped the lumber to the college. These were just the first steps in their journey of 'living while learning,' because they also used that lumber to help build the dorm. It's not just the students who learned. The design team learned how to give residents control over their environment and give feedback on performance using intelligent meters and controls.

The new three-story, 42,000 ft2 (3902 m2) Deep Green Residence Hall in Berea, Ky., has received LEED Platinum certification and has achieved Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Recognition by the International Living Future Institute.

The team also took extreme measures to limit the college’s global environmental impact through compliance with the LBC “Red List,” which prohibits the use of materials that are detrimental to the occupants and the planet.


Energy Efficiency

Models predicted the residence hall would consume 35.1 kBtu/ft2·yr (398.6 MJ/m2·yr). According to LEED 2009-NC, this predicted consumption was the equivalent of a 55% reduction of energy use when compared to ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007, of which 14% was from the photovoltaic renewable energy system. According to the 2003 CBECS, residence halls across the country, on average, have an EUI of 90 kBtu/ft2·yr (1022 MJ/m2·yr). Deep Green's EUI is 34 kBtu/ft2·yr (386.1 MJ/m2·yr). Figure 1 shows a graphed comparison of actual monthly energy use versus modeled energy use (proposed building and Standard 90.1-2007 baseline). The energy consumption is significantly lower than the baseline case due to the use of geothermal systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, building control systems, and building envelope testing.

The building owner preferred fan coil terminal units for the resident rooms, with hot and chilled water provided by a geothermal heat recovery chiller central plant system. When the building is in cooling mode, the condenser loop (waste heat) is used to provide any building heat needed. Two dedicated outdoor air systems were provided with energy recovery wheels to precondition the incoming outdoor air. The facility also uses a direct digital energy management and temperature control system that monitors and controls all HVAC equipment and domestic water heating equipment.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the energy consumption from hot water heating in an average residence hall is 25%. To reduce energy, low-flow fixtures and geothermal water-to-water heat pumps were used in the design of this building, reducing water heating by 88% from a Standard 90.1-2007 baseline building.

Occupancy sensors and plug load controls were also used to reduce electrical consumption. The occupancy sensors are linked to the HVAC controls to determine unoccupied setback times, and a window sensor shuts off the fan coil units when the window is opened. The networked lighting control system also uses tightly defined schedules to automatically control lights in areas that use fixed schedules. The energy-saving features earned all 35 LEED Energy and Atmosphere points and three regional priority credits and resulted in 35% less energy use than other residence halls in the region and savings of 55% in annual energy costs.

One important aspect of energy efficiency that is commonly overlooked is the actual building construction performance. Highly efficient materials were used in construction to reduce energy, but the facility failed the initial building pressurization test. With thermal imaging, the points of faulty construction were presented and resolved to maximize the efficiency of the building envelope.


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