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A Leading Academic Institution Demonstrates Commitment to Sustainability with New Science Building Utilizing Numerous Emerging Design Strategies

Paul Shapiro, P.E., LEED® AP, and Mark Chadwick, Ballinger Architects and Engineers
Jeff P. Redderson, Furman University

The Plyler Hall Science Building Renovation and Addition project at Furman University is a renovation of the existing 120,000 sq. ft. Science Building as well as an addition of 70,000 sq. ft. to create state-of-the-art laboratory and teaching space.

The project utilizes numerous cutting-edge technologies in the effort to save energy and promote sustainability on the Furman campus, including:

  • Total energy recovery wheels to recover energy from building and laboratory exhaust.
  • Use of active chilled beams throughout the building.
  • Radiant floor cooling and heating.
  • High performance (low-flow) fume hoods.
  • Evacuated solar tubes for heating of domestic and heating hot water.
  • A daylight harvesting system.
  • A solar aquatics system that will minimize sanitary drainage and provide a grey water system supply for toilets and urinals.

With the freedom and encouragement to incorporate so many emerging technologies, the design team took a fresh look at whole-building design for sustainability. For example, the use of chilled beam technology in concert with low-flow fume hoods led the mechanical team away from the traditional high-performance variable air volume design and toward a constant volume solution. The lack of familiarity with the heating distribution available via the chilled beams led to a perimeter ceiling-mounted radiant heating panel system that also acts as a light shelf to increase the effectiveness of the daylight harvesting system. Waterless urinals, considered for the building, were not the correct solution in the end, when the solar aquatics system is available to produce sanitized, recycled effluent for flushing of toilets and urinals.

Labs21 Connection:

The project sustainability committee functioned with a true Labs21 Approach. To implement this amount of cutting-edge technology required an owner truly committed to sustainability. A sustainability committee was formed early in the schematic phase of the project to consider the building as a whole and to determine how the building could be a showcase for sustainable science building and laboratory design. The committee included faculty, university administration, university facilities, members of the design team, as well as an outside sustainability consultant. The committee resolved to pursue "Sustainability Initiatives Beyond LEED" (LEED Silver is a University minimum design standard). These initiatives were documented as "add alternates" through the schematic and design development phases of the project until separate, dedicated sustainability funding was identified.

Although quite common in Europe for the past 15 years, chilled beam technology is rare within the United States. This project utilizes active chilled beams to significantly reduce the amount of air that must be delivered to the laboratories, teaching spaces, and offices. Extensive due diligence was required to convince the design team, university facilities, construction manager, and faculty of the appropriateness and reliability of the system. Visits to two factories in Europe as well as numerous installation sites in Europe, and one in Massachusetts, were necessary. It is believed that this project will be the first major university laboratory project to utilize this technology.


Paul Shapiro, P.E., LEED AP. As Senior Project Engineer at Ballinger, Paul has extensive engineering and project management experience in the design and construction of corporate, academic and institutional buildings. He is adept at working with technologically complex facilities, producing progressive, unconventional solutions by integrating state-of-the-art technology with architectural design.

In addition to Furman University's Plyler Hall, his most recent projects include the central chilled water plant site analysis for Ethicon, Inc., the Wood Basic Research Building at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the West Philadelphia Master Plan for the University of Pennsylvania, and the Science and Student Center at Muhlenberg College. As a LEED accredited professional, many of Paul's projects have focused on obtaining LEED certification.

Paul earned his Master of Business Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University. He is a member of ASHRAE, ISPE, and U.S. Green Building Council.

Mark Chadwick, AIA, is a Senior Associate at Ballinger with responsibilities as a Project Manager, Facilities Programmer, and Lab Planner. He has 33 years' experience in the planning, design, and execution of health care, academic graduate research, undergraduate science, and government, non-profit, and corporate R&D facilities with laboratories ranging from biomedical, to agricultural genetics, to advanced materials research.

Mark's clients have included Ford Motor Co., UOP Inc., USDA, Ashland Chemical Co., Mobil Corporation, Himont Inc., General Electric Government Communications Systems, New Jersey Department of Economic Development, Submarine Systems Inc., Merck & Co., Ethicon, Inc., Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Schering-Plough Corporation, Cephalon, Inc., Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York University Medical Center, Wake Forest University Medical Center, Rowan University, Gettysburg College, Franklin & Marshall College, Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, The Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin, University of the South, and Furman University.

Mark earned both his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master in Architecture degrees from the University of Michigan.

Jeff P. Redderson, P.E., is Director of Facility Services for Furman University and brings the client angle to this presentation. For 15 years Jeff has managed and supervised the functional areas of Capital Construction, Maintenance, Utilities, Environmental, Safety & Health, and Facilities Administration, with emphasis on electrical, mechanical and utility systems. His broad technical background is the result of engineering experiences in both industrial and institutional environments, yielding strong quantitative and analytical skills. He is currently managing the addition and renovation of Plyler Hall.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University and his Master of Business Administration from University of South Carolina. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and is a Certified Energy Manager.

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