The UAF Life Sciences Facility is a nominal 100,000-sf, $88M state-of-the-art researching and teaching laboratory facility built in Alaska’s interior region. The four-story facility includes utilidors links to the campus-wide utility system as well as surface and underground pedestrian and service links to adjacent facilities. The civil and structural designs address challenging site geometry, topography, drainage, and soils conditions. The facility is designed to be highly energy efficient.
Challenges included developing an efficient building for arctic conditions and optimizing building loads by use of a radiant floor system that handles concurrent heating and cooling for the facility. The building envelope employs an R-40 curtain wall system with an R-60 roof assembly. The radiant system effectively uses a four-pipe common load configuration which is the first application of its type in Alaska.
A 1,800-ton central steam absorption chiller system for campus distribution was designed consisting of (2) 900-ton steam absorption chillers installed in the basement of the facility, coupled with (2) cross-flow cooling towers located on the site. The chiller plant is designed to run in the summer where it will use steam from the campus power plant. The facility is connected to this campus network for its chilled glycol source. In the winter, the campus chilled glycol system is shut-down due to low cooling load and the fact that the steam is used primarily for heating on campus. There are still cooling loads in the facility, so a wintertime free-cooling system was designed to piggyback on the building chilled glycol system using outside ambient air to chill the glycol for cooling.
A unique challenge included matching specific heat recovery to systems based on application and life-cycle analysis. Due to the corrosive and toxic nature of the fume-hood exhaust system, a run-around style loop was used to transfer heat out of the exhaust stream to preheat incoming outside air. A higher efficiency heat pipe system was used to recover heat from the laboratory general exhaust stream. Rather than waste the heat from the chilled glycol system in the wintertime, outside air serving the ventilation units is initially drawn through a parallel duct with a coil that functions as a dry cooler for the chilled glycol system. The outside air is preheated and then routed back to the ventilation units for use in the building. Bypasses were installed to prevent overheating.
A centralized electrical service and upper level power and communications core maintained efficient power delivery within minimal losses in delivery to laboratory and classroom equipment. LED lighting with networked occupancy and daylighting controls coupled with automatic shade controls were used to reduce electrical and solar heat demands. Coordination with UAF’s audio visual and distance learning were enhanced with lighting controls located at instructor and door locations. Critical mechanical HVAC systems were equipment with primary and backup variable speed controllers where delivery of typical manual bypass starters could damage research conducted in the laboratory section. Access control systems used wired door controllers to a allow quick lock down at the perimeter and wireless controllers for interior spaces. Installed and future MRI facilities were incorporated into the project’s lower level. A lightning protection system was included to protect high value equipment and research within the building.