The Integral Systems project involved a $992,000 renovation construction of a five-story, 125,000 sq. ft. tenant fit-out of a core and shell office building in Columbia Gateway Office Park in Columbia, Maryland which will be LEED®-certified for Commercial Interiors. Mechanical Engineering & Construction Corporation (MEC²) was the mechanical contractor responsible for the plumbing, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and glycol dry-cooler system. The project is an existing facility with rooftop air conditioning units with gas-fired heat exchangers, medium pressure duct mains, and shell fan-powered VAV terminal units. The plumbing systems for the core toilet areas were pre-existing and to remain.
Construction was an intense coordination process with the Owner, COPT, the construction managers, Whiting-Turner, and the sub-contractors, to build a state-of-the-art office building that maintained site cleanliness, safety and environmentally-friendly impacts to the existing area.
The HVAC system serving Integral Systems’ facility provides year-round temperature and ventilation that meets or exceeds all applicable code and industry standards as defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE). The system utilizes (6) existing variable volume rooftop air conditioning units with gas furnaces for heating and ducting supply air to fan-powered variable air volume terminals. The fan-powered VAV terminal units are equipped with electric heating coils to maintain space temperature. The scope of the project called for MEC² to provide additional fan-powered VAV terminals as well as retrofitting some of the existing units. Existing fan-powered VAV terminal units were moved to alternate areas to coordinate ceiling limitations and provide cooling and heating to created zones. The project also consisted of the fit-out of secure information office areas or SCIF areas. The SCIF areas were provided with protective systems including man-bars in the ductwork, and flexible connections to create a security break. The overall heating, ventilating and air conditioning system serving the building is monitored and controlled by a direct digital computer-based control system. The control system automatically coordinates the function of all mechanical components to assure economical and reliable operation. The system may be monitored within the building and remotely for failures of equipment or operating criteria outside of pre-set levels.
The building automatic temperature control system by CES monitors and controls every HVAC component in the building and also controls the building lighting system scheduling. The rooftop units and terminal units work in sequence to minimize energy usage while providing the required air conditioning capacity. Innovative control strategies for static air pressure recalculation were implemented for the control of the variable frequency drives to minimize fan power usage and save energy use and costs.
Integral Systems is equipped with data labs and IT server rooms which are critical to the operation of this facility. MEC² installed (2) dry-cooler and pump packages on the roof to serve the intense cooling demands of the server equipment. The system has approximately 120 tons of cooling capacity. The roof mounted dry-coolers are piped to 19 computer room air conditioning units.
The plumbing renovation work consisted of providing tenant fit-out break rooms, toilet rooms and also providing piping to the computer room air conditioning units for humidification and for condensate drainage.
Challenges to this $992,000 mechanical undertaking included scheduling the computer room cooling equipment that have long lead times for shipping with the construction effort of the renovation. The multi-story renovation construction is always challenging with the coordination of the bulk materials storage, and coordination with the multiple trades occupying the same building space.
LEED® requirements added additional tasks to the construction process including storage of materials off of direct contact with the floor, temporary capping of ductwork and terminal units to minimize debris entrainment, providing required filtration over the return openings, and specific leakage testing of our systems. Close coordination with all trades was critical to minimize dust and debris in construction practices.