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Facilities Management

Facilities Management Building
411 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)

Siraj Khan
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management
Oakland University
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4401
(248) 370-2160

Facilities Management

Facilities Management Building
411 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)

Siraj Khan
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management
Oakland University
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4401
(248) 370-2160

Sustainability for Human Health Building

By: Siraj Khan, MSME, PE, CEM, LEED AP, CEFP

Associate Vice President for Facilities Management

Oakland University's Human Health building (HHB), completed in 2012, houses the School of Nursing and School of Health Sciences. HHB is an approximately 172,000-square-foot sustainable facility, located on the northwest corner of campus at the intersection of Walton Blvd and Squirrel Rd.

The Human Health Building is the most visible building at our campus due to its location, environmental stewardship and high-performance building. HHB has implemented various cutting-edge technologies to save energy, we estimate energy consumption of 40,000 BTU/sq. ft/year including process and plug load, which is 45%-55 % less energy consumption compared to a similar benchmark building and 35% below ASHRAE std. 90.1-2007 base line. 

University leadership and management always encourages environmental stewardship and sustainability at all levels on our campus. During the groundbreaking ceremony in 2010, OU President Dr. Gary Russi (1995-2013) announced that the new Human Health Building would be Platinum Level, the first academic building in the State of Michigan to be awarded this distinction.  The Finance & Administration and Facilities Management leadership spearheaded the project to build a world-class facility that would showcase the University's commitment to sustainability.

Since the beginning phases of the project, Facilities Management worked with the consultants to make this dream into a reality and shared valuable information about the cutting-edge technology systems and their associated mechanical components such as solar collectors, photovoltaic panels, geothermal wells, variable refrigerant flow fan coil units and heat pumps. In addition, the team provided suggestions to make the building not only sustainable, but also high performance building with operational flexibility and maintainability on a long-term basis. Facilities Management worked with construction contractors and played an active role in assuring proper installation for some of the key components of the mechanical systems and in the commissioning process of the building.

Key Facts to Know about the Human Health Building

  • The first academic building in the State of Michigan to achieve LEED Platinum Level certification            
  • The first academic building nation-wide with the largest variable refrigerant flow system coupled with a Geothermal Heat Pump System
  • The first academic building nation-wide with the largest desiccant dehumidification system coupled with solar heating system to regenerate desiccant
  • The first academic building nation-wide housing an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lab.          

Additional Sustainable Features of the Human Health Building

Renewable energy, power and thermal energy

Renewable energy for power is produced by a photovoltaic system of 3600 sq. ft of SUNIVA PV panels providing 45 KW of power which is 3% of the building's power. Renewable energy for thermal energy is being produced by installing 117 Solar Panel Plus vacuum tube solar thermal panels, each at 51 sq.ft, total of 6, 060 sq. ft with four 25,000-gallon underground storage tanks.  This system provides 504 MMBTU thermal energy for the entire year, which is 40% of building’s heating hot water load. Solar thermal collectors on the roof provide most of the required heat for ventilation, entrance vestibules and lobbies, pool heating, domestic hot water, and the sidewalk snow melting system.  In the summertime, the collectors are used as a heat source for the desiccant dehumidification system and the underground tanks allow any excess heat collected to be stored until needed. 

Geothermal Heat Pump Systems

The geothermal bore-field having 256 vertical Geo-wells, 320 feet deep and 25 feet apart, hidden underneath parking lot P-1, The Geo-wells use earth as a heat sink and source for the heat pumps to provide cooling and heating of the building. HHB has 44 heat pumps with 22 refrigeration circuits.

With ground temperatures significantly warmer than the outside environment in the winter and significantly cooler in the summer, mechanical heat pump units efficiently provide the primary heating and cooling for the building. These pumps circulate refrigerant to and from fan coil units that provide the local heating or cooling. During cooler weather while interior spaces still require cooling, perimeter spaces are heated by circulating the refrigerant used to cool the interior.

Variable refrigerant flow system

Providing simultaneous heating and cooling, high efficiency fan coil units with air filters to provide better environmental control and clean air in the offices and classrooms. HHB has 187 fan coil units approximately four of which are being served by a single heat pump, providing an optimally controlled environment in each space.

Day time lighting and lighting controls

All perimeter areas are primarily illuminated by natural light, provided by the clearstory windows and atrium glass walls. The building also includes occupancy sensors for lighting control and day light harvesting.

Dedicated fresh air systems with demand controls

Two 23,500 cfm Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS) units, provide fresh air into the building.  Each unit uses desiccant cooling coupled with solar array and a total heat recovery wheel of 3 Angstrom and CO2 demand control system.  During warm and humid weather, desiccant wheels are utilized to dry out the incoming ventilation air. The heat collected from the solar system is utilized to regenerate the desiccant.

Cleanest indoor air in the offices and classrooms

Each DOAS unit has pre and final air filter with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 7 and 14; each fan coil unit has a filter of a minimum 7 MERV rating.

Low water flow plumbing fixtures                               

1.6 gallons water closets and pint urinals in the restrooms with occupant sensors

Storm water harvesting for landscaping

A 10,000 gallon below-grade cistern collects storm water from the roof of the entire building and utilizes the storm water for lawn irrigation.

Storm water management and healing garden

Storm water run-off from parking lots and other areas is controlled by natural wetland which also provide water filtration to control sediment.

Preservation of natural wetlands

Upgraded and rehabilitated natural wetland areas with native vegetation and walk-ways around the areas, improved living of animal habitats and green environment for the campus community.

Native planting for trees

The planting of native trees and grass has cut down portable water usage.

Recycling and recycle material usage

95% of building construction material was diverted from landfills by recycling the material.  In addition, recycled materials were used in the construction of the building.

Low VOC furnishing

Water-based paint and oil was used and low voc carpets and furnishing were provided.

Outdoor LED lighting

LED lighting for roadways and parking provided no lighting pollution into sky and override switches were installed for the time clock and photocell.

Electric vehicle charging stations

Two dual electric charging stations for four electric and hybrid vehicles were installed.

Measurement and verification

The building energy consumption is provided by utility meters and sub-meters. These meters will be tie-in with campus automatic energy tracking and reporting system

Enhanced Commissioning

The building provides enhanced commissioning of fume hoods in laboratories.

Innovation in Design Process

Overall, the design and construction teams demonstrated creativity, innovation and collaboration to make this building an example for Oakland University's commitment to sustainability and high-performance buildings that can be used as a learning tool for other institutions and organizations.