Towson City Center

Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning, and Plumbing System

The Towson City Center project involved renovation construction of a 15-story, 220,000 sq.ft. shell office structure (“sick” building) which will be LEED® certified Silver for Core and Shell. Mechanical Engineering & Construction Corporation (MEC²) was the mechanical contractor responsible for the mechanical system design and installation. Construction was an intense coordination process with the Caves Valley Partners, Chesapeake Contracting Group, the commissioning agent, and the subcontractors 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 Towson City Center 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 HVAC system utilizes a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system (combined 240 tons) with variable speed condensing units on the roof and fan coil units on the floor spaces; the system is provided with energy recovery systems that can use the heat generated from one portion of the building to heat another part of the facility. The ventilation system utilizes a unique strategy of a dedicated outdoor air unit with heat recovery and desiccant control for dehumidifying the air coupled with supply and return fans controlled by variable speed drives to provide the exact quantity of air required by monitoring the CO2 at every level in the building. By using this strategy, the shaft space in the building was reduced by 70% allowing for more leasable area. The system is also equipped with a free cooling economizer for ventilation air when no mechanical cooling is required. 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 equipment alarms or operating criteria outside of pre-set levels.

Challenges to this $3+ million mechanical undertaking included the construction effort of building and sequencing a high-rise office building with one operable elevator. The outdoor air unit reused the existing cooling tower structure so we had to remove the towers, repair and add structural steel and crane lift the new unit into place in a short time frame due to street closure limitation requirernents in Towson. A large issue was the low floor-to-floor height of the existing building. To maintain typical office ceiling heights, we had to come up with a system with minimal impact to the space. The installed system hits the mark.

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.

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