The 2019-2020 Retrofit Design Team Challenge
With origins as early as 1876, University Laboratory High School (Uni) remains a unique element on the Illini campus. However, in its current form, it is not meeting the potential proposed by the original architect. This, combined with extremely subpar sustainability metrics, inspired Illinois Retrofit, in conjunction with Facilities and Services, to reimagine a complete Uni. Our envisioned Uni will help to educate and excite the next generation on the topics of sustainability and building science while furthering the University’s commitment to the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).
Illinois Retrofit aims to develop the originally proposed east wing with modernized sustainable design while reinforcing the dual purpose of the building: education and education research. The new addition will provide faculty and students with proper gymnasium, theatre, auditorium, cafeteria, and additional offices/classrooms.
Our Project and Design
The project re-imagined a new Uni-High by looking at its potential building expansion and sustainable energy performance. It aimed to educate and excite the next generation on the topics of sustainability and building science while furthering the University’s commitment to the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP)3. This was achieved by retaining, strengthening and celebrating the beautiful Neo-gothic architecture of Uni-Hi and integrating it with modern architectural language and sustainable systems and technologies. The HVAC system proposed includes CERV (Conditioning Energy Recovery Ventilator) for ventilation and ductless mini split heating pumps for heating and cooling, as opposed to the existing radiator system. This system regulates both humidity and temperature and re-purposes 80% of the total waste energy leaving the building as heat. The proposed combination achieves way better air quality and reduces the overall electricity consumption. The PV&E system uses a combination of standard poly-crystalline and bi-facial panels. The panels have a total installed capacity of 220 kW and a total energy generation of 359,000 kWh/year. The entire schemes leads to $28,500 annual savings.
The solar, building construction and HVAC technology proposed manage to offset 100% HVAC energy load requirement of the building and promised an investment recovery period of less than 20 years. The intervention created a new identity for Uni-Hi which was reminiscent and respectful of the existing building and increased the quality of spaces for the students and the staff.
Throughout the completion of the project the team worked together integrating architecture, building construction and management, energy analysis, PV & E, water, automation and HVAC. Assessing all these aspects simultaneously led to cohesive integration of technology and design creating an atmosphere in which each member contributed at achieving higher efficiency potential within the building.