University of Kentucky CAER

The University of Kentucky’s new Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is featured in the Winter 2014 edition of High Performance Building Magazine. The building is used to investigate new and existing energy technologies to improve the environment. This building houses research laboratories focusing on biomass and bio-fuels, solar energy and electrochemical power sources.

These labs, along with other clean rooms are historically huge energy hogs. Labs are usually pumped full of 100% outside air for ventilation in order to assure that the air in the space remains clean and safe. However, heating and cooling all of this outdoor air is very expensive. Maintaining a safe environment while also reducing the energy use was a key priority for the MEP design team.

By using Phoenix Controls systems to minimize fume hood exhaust and accurately control room pressurization, the amount of ventilation air required was greatly reduced. In order to even further reduce the amount of ventilation air needed, an Aircuity air sampling system was implemented. The system takes a sample of air from each lab every 15 minutes. Whenever it senses a chemical occurrence, the system reacts and over-ventilates the space at 16 Air Changes Per Hour, cleaning out the space. Once a sample is returned and the chemical occurrence has been removed, the air change rate drops back to 6-8 ACH if the space is occupied (4-6 ACH in unoccupied mode). This, along with other measures, helps this building use 57% LESS ENERGY than similar sized labs.

Air Equipment Company played in integral role in designing both the Phoenix Controls and Aircuity systems that help make the CAER a LEED Certified Gold building. We are always excited when we can provide services and equipment to such an important facility!