Campus heating and cooling systems present a particular challenge to the incorporation of advances in technology to improve efficiency. An older system is generally more expensive to operate than a newer one would be, but extensive upgrades are often difficult. Lengthy shutdowns affect multiple buildings, and new central heating and cooling equipment is very expensive. Buildings added over the years incorporate various types of systems, affecting central plant operation. Buried distribution piping is costly and can be disruptive to modify.
The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has been engaged in an ongoing effort to modernize infrastructure and incorporate sustainable design features on its campus in Princeton, New Jersey. Under the direction of IAS Facilities Management, a multi-year plan for campus utility improvements has been implemented. Over the past eight years the same consulting engineers have been involved in each major campus project, providing necessary continuity.
The most recent project at the Institute was the construction of an addition to an existing building. Sustainable construction was prioritized in the design of the new building. This article will discuss some of these architectural and building system design features. Also addressed will be some of the recent history concerning measures to modernize the central campus cooling systems, focusing on the synergy between construction of the new building and the central system improvements.