The Loyola Campion Tower Phase One

Mechanical Systems

The Loyola Campion Tower project involved the $2,500,000 mechanical construction of a 155,000 sq. ft. existing Student Housing facility located at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland. Mechanical Engineering & Construction Corporation (MEC²) was the mechanical subcontractor responsible for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. This construction project included renovation of the internal mechanical main systems, transforming an old, out-of-date, unreliable mechanical system into a new energy-efficient, code-compliant system with added safeties that can be easily operated and maintained – saving the University operating capital, and providing an improved living environment assisting today’s students to become tomorrow’s leaders. The energy-efficient improvements to the facility qualified for BGE energy rebates which assisted in financing the project costs.

Construction was an intense coordination process with the Owner, Whiting Turner Contracting Company, CTS, and MEC² to provide the latest advances in thermal comfort for the students. The project site required maximum focus on site cleanliness and safety requirements due to the location near a residential area; the project created minimal environmental impacts to the existing area during construction. The construction effort was a rapid transformation of the main mechanical systems that occurred in a 12-week schedule so that when the fall semester started, the building would be fully operational.

The HVAC system provides year-round temperature and humidity levels that meets all applicable code and industry standards, as defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE). The renovation included the addition of a high efficiency, water-cooled chiller coupled with improvements to the existing cooling tower, (2) variable, speed-controlled chilled water pumps, (2) condenser water pumps, (2) heating water pumps, and the addition of (2) energy recovery ventilators with sound attenuation that provide outdoor ventilation air to the facility; the existing system in the facility did not provide any fresh air to the residences. A refrigerant monitoring system was installed to insure and maintain safe levels in the mechanical room that includes controls for exhaust and supply fans required for ventilation. The cooling tower was retrofitted with freeze protection to enable cold weather operation. Included in the cold weather operation tasks was the addition of new underground pre-insulated condenser water piping that incorporated heat tracing for additional freeze protection. The cooling system capacities provide approximately 250 tons of cooling for occupant comfort. The overall system serving the building is monitored and controlled by a direct digital computer-based control system which coordinates the function of mechanical components to assure economical and reliable operation.

Challenges to this $2,500,000 mechanical undertaking included extensive excavation for the condenser water piping, and sub-grade PVC ductwork for refrigerant leak protection ventilation. The compressed schedule required constant coordination and on-site management of all trades to pull off a complete and fine-tuned functioning system, from installation through system start-up and commissioning. Intense scheduling and communication between the GC and subcontractors was achieved, and this project was completed within the specified timeframe and budget.

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