Page E2.1 . 05 April 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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  • Health, Care and Comfort

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    Health, Care and Comfort

    by Jerry Yudelson and Brian Libby

    River Campus Building One, for Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, is a high-performance building with a conventional budget. The 16-story building, currently in construction, displays an innovative approach to mechanical engineering for a medical and research environment. In collaboration with developer Gerding/ Edlen and GBD Architects, Interface Engineering has met aggressive design criteria for resource conservation while paying special attention to the thermal comfort of medically fragile occupants. Editor

    To design the dramatic reductions in energy use sought by the client, we tailored different heating and cooling strategies for different portions of the building.

    Conventional HVAC systems are designed to maintain interior air temperatures throughout a building in a range of about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-24 degrees Centigrade). This requires large, tightly controlled heating and cooling systems that may oversized except during a few peak periods in summer or winter.

    In Building One, the design team identified certain spaces through which people pass relatively quickly (stairwells, lobby, corridors), for which they could widen the range of acceptable temperatures, sometimes to as much as 64-79 degrees F. (18-26 degrees C.).

    As a result, smaller and more affordable systems were selected for these spaces at significant savings in both first and operational costs. The relaxed temperature range in the stairwells and lobby comes not just from adjusting the thermostat, but from using radiant heating/ cooling and natural ventilation instead of relying solely on traditional air conditioning and forced ventilation.   >>>

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    River Campus Building One, currently under construction for Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, was designed by GBD Architects with Interface Engineering.
    Photo: Sally Painter

    ArchWeek Image

    Occupant comfort is a function not only of air temperature, but of relative humidity, air movement, mean radiant temperatures, and clothing worn.
    Image: allegro design


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