Eastern Michigan University honored for innovative system in Science Complex

80,000 square feet of space added to Science Complex without increasing energy consumption

by Debra Johnson, Published July 09, 2013


YPSILANTI - Incorporating an innovative HVAC system and green technologies during construction helped Eastern Michigan University add over 80,000 square feet of space to its Science Complex without increasing energy use in the building.

That winning combination garnered EMU an honorable mention from the Engineering Society of Detroit at its annual awards dinner June 27. Eastern and members of the Science Complex building team were recognized in the 2013 Construction and Design Award category.


Eastern Michigan University's Science Complex

According to Eastern's utility data, the Science Complex used an average of 93,757 MMBTU of energy each year for the three-year period 2009-2011. In the calendar year 2012, the building only used 64,116 MMBTU of energy resulting in a 31.6% reduction in energy consumption.

"We sought to minimize energy use while maximizing comfort and reliability," said Steve Moore, energy and sustainability manager at EMU. "This resulted in the application of new technologies in a facility that is not only beautiful but full of leading-edge technology."

The Engineering Society of Detroit's Construction and Design Award honors the three primary members of the building team: owners, designers and builders. It also recognizes outstanding team achievement, innovative use of technology and environmental impact.

Peter Basso Associates and The Christman Company, in a joint venture partnership with Dumas Concepts, were acknowledged for their contributions to the Science Complex project.

The design of the HVAC system in the Science Complex uses technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 2,200 metric tons of CO2 annually, according to Moore. The key features of the HVAC system include:

  • A dedicated outdoor air system with dual energy recovery that reduces the energy needed for heating and cooling while maintaining a safe environment in the labs throughout the building.
  • Modifications to the chilled water system, including the addition of a high-efficiency centrifugal chiller, the application of chilled beam technology that allows for on-demand cooling for each space, and combining several buildings into a chilled water loop to increase redundancy and improve system efficiency.

Construction and renovations to the $90 million, self-funded Science Complex were completed in August 2012. The construction project comprised an 80,000 square foot addition along with renovations to 180,000 square feet of existing space in the adjoining Mark Jefferson building. The total facility is 256,320 square feet and includes 107 labs.

The Science Complex is home to Eastern's biology, chemistry, geography and geology, physics and astronomy and psychology departments. The building was also recently awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.



Debra Johnson

Make a Gift
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linked in
  • Blog EMU
  • EMU app