UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM RESIDENCE HALL & DINING FACILITY
- Size: 230,000 Square Feet
- Construction Cost: $48 Million
- Services: MEPFP Design, Construction Administration
- Completion Date: 2020
Bernhard TME is providing mechanical, plumbing, and fire protection design services as well as construction administration services for a new seven-story residence hall at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The hall includes 364 double occupancy student rooms, a 300-seat dining hall, classrooms, administrative offices, and a storm shelter that doubles as a multi-purpose room. It will house 728 students once completed in 2020. Energy efficiency and maintainability were a core focus in the design, which was fast-tracked because of the project schedule.
As the facility is a residence hall for students, the need for easily maintainable and energy efficient systems is a critical factor in the design. The mechanical design includes three rooftop outside Air Handling Units with airside economizers and a dedicated 4-pipe vertical fan coil unit (FCU) for each dorm room. The FCUs are housed in mechanical closets in the hallways so that maintenance staff can easily access the units without disturbing students. This is a new design concept for UAB, who is building new dorms in the coming years to meet demand of the growing student population.
The design also includes Energy Recovery Units that provide semi-conditioned outside air to each FCU and recover wasted heat from exhaust airflows. This in addition to the rooftop units’ airside economizers brings the building’s energy usage below the ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010 standard. To facilitate good stewardship of natural resources, AHU condensate and a portion of the roof drainage will be piped to the irrigation cistern for the rain garden located in the building’s courtyard.
The residence hall will connect to the campus district energy system which will supply chilled water and steam to the building. The heating water system is variable-primary distribution which allows for higher efficiency and lower maintenance costs over primary secondary type systems. UAB building standards require equipping the building with sub-meters to monitor usage through the campus Energy Management System. The automatic temperature controls for the project will be direct digital controls (DDC), allowing remote monitoring of the FCUs and helping maintenance staff troubleshoot and control temperatures when the hall is unoccupied.
The hall is being designed to achieve LEED Silver certification once completed. One challenge for the project was an expedited schedule, so Bernhard TME worked across multiple branch offices and disciplines during the design phase to complete the project on time. The project is on schedule for students to occupy in 2020.