EOS was 128 MWh, compared with
the modeled 600 MWh. A subsequent analysis of this data uncovered
measurement inaccuracies, which
will be corrected in future building
The measured electricity use for
CIRS was 755 MWh, while the pre-
dicted electricity use based on the
submitted LEED compliance model
was 585 MWh. During this period 36
MWh of renewable energy was pro-
duced through BIPV. The net result
of the use of grid electricity by CIRS
minus renewable PV energy pro-
duced and consumed on site results
in a net EUI of approximately 41
kBtu/ft2 · yr (129 k Wh/m2 · yr).
These discrepancies have resulted
in ongoing system performance inves-
tigations that are uncovering techni-
cal pitfalls in design. First, the design
team failed to account for a water
scrubber in the duct manifold of the
EOS fume hood exhaust system where
the CIRS heat exchanger is located,
which reduced the air temperature
from 68°F ( 20°C) to 60°F ( 16°F),
which in turn reduces the amount of
heat CIRS can extract from EOS.
Secondly, heat from CIRS is being
delivered through a new pack-
age AHU on the roof of EOS. The
AHU is fed with CIRS-generated
hot water, which feeds an air-
mixing chamber of an old hot-deck/
cool-deck air-handling system.
The result is that during the times
of the year when the air is being
cooled and dehumidified before
being heated again and distributed
through EOS, CIRS is not able to
contribute useful heat to EOS.
This scenario has limited the abil-
ity for CIRS to provide useful heat
to EOS to those days of the year
when the air temperature is lower
than 50°F ( 10°C). This problem has
been rectified now that EOS has
installed new rooftop units, which
are being commissioned.
Now CIRS is delivering heat
directly to the heating coils of the
main AHUs of EOS. Final numbers
are not yet available to evaluate the
effectiveness of this new strategy.
During this monitoring period,
the measured total heating energy
extracted from the geothermal field
through the geoexchange system
was 46. 5 MWh. The total amount of
Specialist Monitors Building Operation.
Due to the complexity of the building systems, including its 3,000 point automation
system, the CIRS building is run by a dedicated part-time building automation specialist. This position is critical not only to the
ongoing operations of the center and its
continued optimization, but to the process
of gathering and organizing building performance data for research purposes.
As the building is also fitted with hundreds
of mechanized controls such as ventilation
dampers and window actuators, having a
dedicated resource continuously monitoring
building systems helps the CIRS team detect
component failures. After three years of
continuous operations, none of the mechanized components in the building has failed.
Several components have been replaced
such as wireless temperature sensors and
reclaimed water aerator pumps and injectors
Resolving Water System Issues. While the
problems with CIRS’s water collection and
reuse systems have been frustrating and
have stalled the completion of the Living
Building Challenge recognition process, the
technical and operational review of these
systems has resulted in a series of recom-
mendations for improvement. The replace-
ment of defective components and the
addition of sensors and controls will allow
uninterrupted operations of these systems
when completed by spring 2015.
Commissioning a Two-Building System.
CIRS was designed as a living laboratory and
a platform for learning, diffusion and dissemination. The CIRS systems represents
an energy design solution that takes into
account the local context of the building and
puts to the test the concept of system optimization at a level beyond a single building.
In hindsight, the design and commis-
sioning of CIRS should have included both
Earth and Ocean Sciences and CIRS as a
two-building system. In addition, metering
should have been installed on the Earth
and Ocean Sciences building to accurately
represent the impact CIRS has on the Earth
and Sciences building systems. No such
analysis and testing was done, or meter or
monitoring system installed.
Low-e Glass not Ideal for Plants. Another
lesson that illustrates the uncertainties associated with complex interactions between
systems in high performance buildings is the
enclosure of the biofilter (part of the water
treatment/reuse system). The glazing used
for the biofilter enclosure was made the same
as for the rest of the building—aesthetically
appealing in terms of uniformity, but the low-e
glass, which reduces the transmission of
ultraviolet light, prevented adequate sunlight
from reaching the plants. As a consequence,
grow lights had to be installed for the plants.
This lesson will make subsequent water
reuse installations smoother, informing
architects and building engineers who may
be unfamiliar with the concept of incorporating water treatment systems into the
building envelope. The point of the CIRS
building project was to learn, possibly make
mistakes, but improve future designs.
The atrium facilitates natural ventilation
throughout the building by creating a stack
effect that draws air from the offices and
labs up and out through vents in the roof.
PV panels above the skylight harvest sunlight for electricity and provide shading.