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76 ASHRAE J our nal Mar c h 1998

The curved building on the right is the public library. The taller building is the attached office
By Blair McCarry, P. Eng.
ibrary Square is an extensive civic project
consisting of a library, an office building,
retail space, and underground parking facilities.
This article describes the 36 230 m
), seven-level library that opened in May 1995.
The project design was selected through an in-
ternational architectural design competition. The
mechanical systems had to be integrated into the
design while complying with the requirements
of ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1: Energy Ef-
ficient Design of New Buildings Except Low-
Rise Residential Buildings.
Project Design
An underfloor supply air system serves the
librarys interior areas and four-pipe console fan
coil units serve the perimeter. The underfloor
supply air system uses a low-pressure, floor ple-
num approach with an access floor consisting
of 600 mm 600 mm (2 ft 2 ft) removable
panels. The panels provide easy access to wir-
ing and equipment located in the floor plenum.
Low temperature air (7C [45F]) from the main
air-handling unit is ducted to the floor plenum
to VAV boxes and floor fan units (FFU are simi-
lar to fan-powered boxes). These units blend
filtered local return air and low temperature,
VAV-controlled air that discharge into the open
floor plenum at approximately 17C (63F).
Very high induction swirl floor diffusers (200
mm [8 in.] in diameter) create a comfortable up-
ward motion of air which supports the natural
motion of heat rising from people, computers
and lights. The warm stratified return air is col-
lected through openings in the structural slab
into return ducts in the floor plenum of the floor
above. This approach conditions the occupied
zone below 2 m (6 ft to 6 in.) and allows heat to
accumulate at the upper stratified zone. The
ventilation in the occupied zone is very effec-
tive because much of the people-generated pol-
lutants tend to rise and are not mixed in the room.
Outdoor air volumes and the CO
levels in
the return air are continuously monitored to
verify indoor air quality. Fiberglass-free pre-fil-
ters and bag filters (85% efficient) are used with
space provided for the future addition of absorp-
tive filters if needed.
Innovative Approaches
The underfloor supply air system was se for
Innovative Underfloor System Innovative Underfloor System Innovative Underfloor System Innovative Underfloor System Innovative Underfloor System
Blair McCarry, P.Eng. is a senior vice presi-
dent and technical director of Keen Engineer-
ing Co. Ltd. in Vancouver BC, Canada. He has
been involved in the consulting mechanical en-
gineering industry for over 25 years.
About the Author
This project won in This project won in This project won in This project won in This project won in
the category for the category for the category for the category for the category for
Institutional Institutional Institutional Institutional Institutional
Buildings Buildings Buildings Buildings Buildings
See McCarry, Page 79
The following article was published in ASHRAE Journal, March 1998. Copyright 1998 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.
It is presented for educational purposes only. This article may not be copied and/or distributed electronically or in paper form without permission of ASHRAE.
Mar c h 1998 ASHRAE J our nal 77
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78 ASHRAE J our nal Mar c h 1998
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Mar c h 1998 ASHRAE J our nal 79
the rigid frame seismic bracing. With underfloor air, much of
the internal heat from people, lights and computers is allowed to
stratify, which significantly reduces the space cooling load.
The access floor provides a flexible approach to wiring man-
agement. The mechanical systems located in the floor were ar-
ranged to accommodate the book stacks that are seismically braced
to the floor system and to the compact shelving supports.
The exposed concrete structure, which is the finished ceil-
ing, is available to absorb interior radiant heat and further re-
duce the peak cooling load. The heat accumulated in the struc-
ture is purged at night during the cooling season. The curved
exposed structure also assists the indirect lighting to give very
even, low power lighting levels. The sprinkler piping is routed
through the floor plenum of the floor above to give a clean
ceiling appearance.
The low temperature air system was reviewed after consider-
ing that drier interior air conditions would assist in the pres-
ervation of the books in general. An ice storage system was
used to create the low temperature air while reducing the peak
electrical demand. Because of architectural design constraints,
the mechanical room is offset from the library. Therefore, the
supply and return air ducts for the library were trenched under
the parking levels. The smaller duct sizes that were needed be-
cause of the use of low temperature air led to reduced rock
excavation and a cost savings of $250,000.
The main supply and return fans utilize aerodynamic inlet
and outlet silencers that produce significant static regain from
the high annular velocity of the axial fans. The supply fan re-
gain is approximately 250 Pa (1 in. water gage) of static pres-
sure, which significantly reduces the fan power required.
The entry concourse for the facility has significant glazing
and skylights. This concourse is not directly heated or cooled,
but is ventilated by relief air from the library. Natural ventila-
tion in moderate weather is provided for with operable win-
dows at the lower levels, the constant opening and closing of
public doors, and the relief vents at high levels. The resulting
conditions are comfortable with minimal energy use.
Energy Efficiency
The building envelope complies with the energy budget of
Standard 90.1, which was a city bylaw requirement. The inte-
rior cooling load in the occupied zone below 2 m (6 ft to 6 in.)
is reduced by stratification. Approximately 30% to 50% of the
heat from various interior heat gains is allowed to rise out of
the occupied zone. Because the Vancouver weather is mild dur-
ing the summer, the stratified return air is generally greater in
temperature than the outside temperature and is relieved from
the library, thereby reducing the ton-hours required.
The computer simulations of the low temperature air and ice
storage system indicated an operating cost savings of $20,000 per
year due to a reduction in fan power and electrical demand charges.
Cost Effectiveness
The library was constructed within a civic project budget.
The low temperature air and ice storage systems reduced the
capital cost by $250,000 due to the reduction in the air han-
dling system and duct sizes, which decreased the amount of
rock excavation needed.
The access floor is an investment for future flexibility. The
investment is already proving its worth with the recent addition
of more computers, as well as wiring changes made in the li-
brary. The access floor cost premium is approximately $64/m
). This cost is somewhat offset by savings of $32/m
) in the initially planned architectural ceiling, wiring and
mechanical installation costs.
Library Square has been a very successful civic facility. Staff
and users of the library are satisfied with the mechanical sys-
tems. The underfloor supply air approach gives great tempera-
ture and indoor air quality conditions to the occupants. The
innovative mechanical engineering approach demonstrates the
benefits of complementary integration into the architectural,
structural and electrical design of the project.
The interior concourse
is the area between
the library and the
free-standing outer
wall. The concourse is
not directly heated or
cooled. Relief air from
the library is trans-
ferred into the con-
course to heat in the
winter and cool in the
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McCarry, From Page 76