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Systems Integration With The Structure

Because ECO-Graphi0 is based upon typical existing Virginia Tech CRC office buildings, we chose to keep largely the same structural system design based off existing CRC buildings. ECO-Graphi0’s major structure is comprised of steel HHS columns connected by wide flange beams, all on concrete spread footings. The walls are mainly a mixture of concrete masonry units (CMU) for shear walls, and steel studs. By keeping this common commercial system in place, it enhances the market potential for possible retrofits of existing buildings using the same principles as ECO-Graphi0 as well as a simplified ground up construction process. Our ceiling is a traditional drop ceiling cavity space. This allows us to easily coordinate the piping and ductwork that supports our different mechanical systems. Additionally, we can use this space as a sealed plenum space for our return air in the different thermal zones. One structural element we did decide to alter was the wall type in our open office spaces. As part of a living building laboratory approach, which is embraced by our university administration, we will introduce a new exterior wall system, which will be built by future student teams. In our open office spaces, we switch to a CLT-L panel system, which shows the wood finish on the interior side. This is to not only distinguish the space architecturally towards the TreeHAUS village visible through the windows, but also to address Virginia Tech’s new policy of incorporating student designed Living Learning space in new campus buildings. Refer to the Market Potential section of this report for more information.

HVAC - Floor 1

Systems Integration On The Roof

After reducing energy loads as much as we could with efficient lighting and plug load scheduling, we then looked to solar energy production to make up the difference left towards our net zero goal. We used NREL’s PVWatts Calculator to determine that ECO-Graphi0 will require a 200 kW PV system at a 20 degree fixed tilt. Our system is projected to produce roughly 270,000 kWh/year which is above the 260,000 kWh/year that our OpenStudio analysis indicated to be necessary. The 200 kW array takes up roughly 8000 ft2 on the roof of ECO-Graphi0. We selected SUNPOWER’s newest Maxeon Gen III solar cells because they have a high energy production that allows us to fit our racks more comfortably on the roof of the building. This is key in giving us more space for rooftop mechanical equipment and the shadows that they would otherwise create on the solar panels. Additionally, one important piece of feedback we received during an industry review was that municipalities are starting to require open pathways around the panel racks, so that firemen can maneuver about the roof in the event of an emergency. The reduced solar rack footprint allows us to accommodate for this possible issue ahead of time. Another potential systems issue with the roof that we accounted for is the possibility of additional uplift that the solar racks could create on the structure. To factor in this possibility, we priced our structural roof system slightly higher than typical.

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