Simulating High Performance Results in an Integrated Project Delivery Atmosphere

John Swift, BuroHappold Engineering
Christopher Powell, Brown University

Universities are at a crossroads when it comes to designing and building state of the art laboratory facilities, which are among the most energy intensive, and meeting aggressive EUI targets. Not only is resolving the conflict between labs and carbon reduction a challenge within itself, but doing so within the construct of an Integrated Project Delivery process adds another layer of complexity.

This presentation will focus on Brown University's new School of Engineering, a research building that is expected to be an exemplar of sustainability and best practice - designed and built within the IPD process. The School of Engineering is an 80,000SF building that includes a high-tech nanotechnology lab with a clean room, an advanced imaging lab, and research and teaching laboratories. At the onset of the project, the design team developed essential values for both the new facility and overall project, as well as values to be implemented in the IPD process. Those included building a world-class research facility that challenges that status quo in pursuit of energy savings and optimization of resources.

The tools and processes used in the modelling and simulation processes need to be adaptable to the IPD methodology. Also highlighted in the case study will be the specific systems utilized to create a high-performance lab building, and the benefits of an integrated design process. This includes extensive analysis of the fašade systems, the analysis of CHP, the implementation of chilled beams and reduced air exchange rates, the implementation of LED lighting and daylighting controls, and the optimization of the central systems serving the new School of Engineering building. It also includes innovative ECM's for the 600SF clean room facility.

Brown's commitment to low energy design, construction and operation includes an aggressive requirement to design buildings with a predicted rated efficiency and performance data at a minimum of 25%, and up to 50%, better than the minimum efficiency and performance criteria established in the Rhode Island adopted International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2012). On this project, that resulted in a target EUI of 135 kbtu/sf/yr, a very aggressive goal for a research facility.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand Brown University's deep commitment to reduce their environmental footprint
  • Identify IPD and understand what it means to a high performance design process
  • Understand lab energy optimization strategies and clean room challenges and opportunities
  • Understand the critical role of post construction continuous commissioning to ensure systems perform as close to modeling assumptions


John Swift is a principal in BuroHappold Engineering's Boston office. He has more than 25 years' experience in high performance building systems engineering design, and has delivered solutions for research, commercial and academic facilities that require effective and reliable infrastructure for the optimization of occupant health, safety and comfort, while minimizing energy and water consumption. John is currently working on Brown University's new School of Engineering.

Chris Powell, AVP of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Initiatives at Brown, is charged with shaping the University's energy policies and is responsible for managing the Campus Wide Energy Efficiency Investment Program, which has allowed Brown to reduce its carbon footprint beyond its already aggressive goals. An authority on energy, energy management and greenhouse gas management, Chris has more than 25 years' experience and is currently leading Brown University's School of Engineering.


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