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The following article was published in ASHRAE Journal, July 1998. Copyright 2002 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and AirConditioning 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.

A S H RA E

1998
ASHRAE
Technology
Award

JOURNAL

The Trans World Dome in St. Louis is home to the Rams football team.

HVAC for Domed Stadium


By Robert L. Towell, P.E.
Member ASHRAE

he Trans World Dome is a 1.71 million ft2 (159 000 m 2) addition to


Americas Center, the existing downtown convention center in St. Louis.
This facility serves as the home of the St. Louis
Rams football team, and is a major expansion to
the original convention and meeting room space
available for trade shows, exhibits and other special events.
The facility was designed to serve 70,000
spectators for normal football events, with up
to 10,000 additional people on the floor level
during concerts and other special shows. The
lower level of seating retracts to allow additional
space for trade shows and conventions.

This project won in


the category for
Public Assembly/
New

July 1998

System Overview
A typical building section is provided in Figure 2 to illustrate the general arrangement of the
HVAC system. The air-handling units that serve
the spectator seating areas are located on the
upper mechanical mezzanine level. They are typically paired with an adjacent unit to allow maintenance of conditions during a component failure, as well as permit a 50% operating mode during a partial occupancy event.
The cooling plant includes seven watercooled centrifugal refrigeration machines with
individual chilled and condenser water pumps.
Maximum temperature differentials were selected
for the chilled and condenser water systems,
16F (8.9C) and 15F (8.3C) respectively, to
minimize pumping energy and pipe sizes.

The heating system was designed with a return water temperature of 135F (57.2C) to use all
available heat in the purchased steam, and includes three two-stage heat exchangers, with the
second stage designed to sub-cool the condensate, resulting in 10% less steam consumption.
Since the expected full load operating hours
were less than 200 hours per year, the maximum
fluid velocity was increased to 15 ft/s (4.6 m/s) as
allowed in the chapter on pipe sizing of the
ASHRAE HandbookHVAC Systems and
Equipment. The natural building layout favored
a reverse return piping arrangement, which was
used for all chilled and heating water piping mains.
Exhibit functions and spectator events were
provided with roof-mounted fans for exhibit floor
smoke exhaust, and combination return air/relief
air fans located on the mechanical mezzanine for
the concourse areas. Smoke control dampers at
each return air intake and are sequenced to allow up to 250,000 cfm (118 000 L/s) of smoke
exhaust from each smoke zone. During final system testing smoke removal was achieved within
three minutes for each concourse zone, well below established smoke exhaust guidelines.

Energy Efficiency
Upper level areas need minimal heating during unoccupied periods, so heating systems
About the Author
Robert L. Towell, P.E., is president of his own
consulting firm in St. Louis. He has a bachelors
degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois.
ASHRAE Journal

47

Figure 1: Carbon dioxide levels.

Figure 2: Typical building section illustrates the air distribution scheme.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)


The techniques of reducing the outside air intake using special air treatment and filtration has been utilized in other large

assembly projects, and could potentially result in an outside air


intake quantity as low as 5 cfm per person (2.4 L/s). Three
outside air intake options were evaluated for this facility: 1) 7.5
cfm per person (3.5 L/s) with special air filtration, 2) 11.7 cfm per
person (5.5 L/s) based on the 1990 BOCA Mechanical Code
requirement for outside air intake based on one third of 35 cfm
per person (16.5 L/s) total ventilation air, and 3) straight ASHRAE
Standard 62-1989, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality compliance at 15 cfm per person (7 L/s).
The effect of these outside air intake options is demonstrated
in Figure 1, which was developed from Appendix D of Standard 62-1989. Note that for this type of occupancy, an average
MET level of 2.0 is expected in lieu of the 1.2 MET level that was
used for a typical office condition.
Analysis of the cooling load indicated that the 35 cfm per
person (16.5 L/s) total ventilation air required by BOCA would
not allow sufficient temperature differential for proper dehumidification, and that a 25 cfm per person (11.8 L/s) supply air quantity would be more appropriate for maintaining comfort conditions. These issues were reviewed with the local code officials,
and a reduced total ventilation rate was accepted based on increasing the outside air intake value to 15 cfm per person (7 L/s).
This solution allowed the project to include the higher outside air intake quantity, with its resultant increased plant cost,

Club seating/suite level shown with round supply air duct.

Two-stage heating water heat exchangers.

were designed to allow the peri-meter spaces to operate at 45F


(7C) by using continuously monitored temperature sensors
and localized perimeter heating units. The same philosophy
was used for cooling operation, since often only the ground
floor support areas will need to be cooled during the summer
months. The building is designed to allow significant stratification when the seating and exhibit floor areas are not in use, with
a low of 45F (7C) in perimeter spaces to a high of 140F (60C)
at the roof.
The individual luxury suites use water-cooled air-conditioning units to provide a final level of flexibility. These units are
only expected to operate for 100 to 200 hours per year to serve
stadium events, and the independent cooling ability allows the
operator to use individual suites for special functions without
starting a larger system. Other energy saving features include
100% outside air intake capability for free cooling economizer operation, outside air temperature reset of the heating
water temperature, carbon dioxide measurement and reset of
the outside air intake quantity, fully computerized building controls and extensive automatic lighting controls.

48

ASHRAE Journal

July 1998

VENTILATION

Figure 3: Actual CO2 measurement during a football game.

Figure 4: Energy consumption for the first year of operation.

by achieving a corresponding cost saving in the air distribution system. The final supply air value was closer to 29 cfm per
person (13.7 L/s) when all external and internal load factors
were tabulated, which resulted in a maximum outside air intake
percentage of 52% during full occupancy.
The supply air delivery systems were designed to maximize
ventilation effectiveness for the spectator seating areas, while
leaving the majority of the 60 million ft3 (16.9 million L) inside
the stadium proper with limited circulation. Experience has

shown that smoke produced during special events dissipates


slowly from the center of the space, but the combination of
roof-mounted exhaust fans and supply air washing across the
seating provides a safe, well-ventilated spectator environment.
The data shown in Figure 3 provides a 24-hour profile of
actual CO2 measurements for an evening football game. For this
event, the doors were opened to the public at 5:30 p.m., and the
game started at 7 p.m. The data demonstrates a rapid rise in CO2
level as soon as the spectators started to enter the building, with

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July 1998

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ASHRAE Journal

49

stability reached approximately two hours after the game started.


The air-handling units were turned off soon after the people left,
so the CO2 level dropped gradually during the night.
Realizing that these systems would operate under a large
variation of occupancy conditions, four CO2 sensors were installed, and a reset schedule was established to vary the outside air intake quantity from a minimum of 15% to the maximum
noted earlier. Final control outputs were determined to be 25%
and 65% respectively, during the commissioning process.
Other IAQ related features include: roof-mounted exhaust
fans for general building relief and special event exhaust; doublewall air-handling units with positive sloping drain pans and
65% efficient air filters; and careful placement of outside air
intakes to avoid contaminated air sources from building exhaust and adjacent traffic areas.

Operation & Maintenance


The facilitys many operational benefits include computerized
monitoring, integrated maintenance software and centralized
equipment locations. Proper systems operation was verified during a construction-phase commissioning program, which included
smoke control systems, outside air quantities, building leakage,
control system demonstration, and other life safety systems.
Shortly after construction was completed, a formal preventative maintenance plan was developed for all mechanical and

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50

ASHRAE Journal

electrical systems. This plan listed all equipment, expected maintenance hours and suggested frequency of each maintenance
activity based on manufacturers recommendations, ASHRAE
guidelines and general experience. This provided the initial data
input for the maintenance program.

Conclusion
The system installed at this facility has demonstrated a high
level of occupant comfort and safety, while proving itself as an
efficient operating choice. A 42% reduction in steam consumption per heating degree day and a similar drop in electrical usage was achieved the first year of operation due to the reduction in construction activity, increased operator familiarity and
sealing of various building leaks. The first years energy consumption is shown in Figure 4. This project shows the benefits
of a commissioning and training program for any construction
effort, and the importance of all project team members.

Please circle the appropriate number on the Reader Service


Card at the back of the publication.
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