Building Knowledge

Thursday, April 8, 2004 Issue 1   VOLUME 4  
Tips from the Experts
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From the Files
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“Moisture control is the key to mold prevention!”
Understanding Legionnaire's Disease
“Integrated Design” and High Performance Buildings
Genzyme Headquarters – Commissioning a LEED Rated Building

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Genzyme Headquarters – Commissioning a LEED Rated Building
by EH&E Staff

Building commissioning is a requirement for receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credit from the US Green Building Council in the area of Energy and Atmosphere. Because sustainable design and construction concepts are relatively new to the building industry, the interaction between these “green” components, and their integration into the building as a whole, is likely to be a source of confusion to those responsible for their installation and use. Therefore, a knowledgeable commissioning team is important to help ensure that the sustainable features designed and specified by the architect are provided, installed and used correctly.

Genzyme’s pride in their new building is evident in the description found on their web site: ” Designed by the award-winning German Architectural firm Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner, Genzyme Center is a twelve-story, 350,000 square foot office building that combines innovative design and cutting edge technology to create and exciting, healthy and productive workplace for more than 900 Genzyme employees. With a striking all-glass exterior and a soaring internal atrium, the new building is the anchor of a new urban revitalization project in the Kendall Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Mass., and is designed to be one of the most environmentally-responsible office buildings ever built in the United States”. Genzyme has registered the building with the US Green Building Council and hopes to make it one of the first buildings in the US to obtain a LEED level of “platinum”.

As Commissioning Authority, it was EH&E’s responsibility to provide quality assurance/quality control inspections of the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems throughout the build-out and LEED certification processes. Commissioning the HVAC system in a green building requires a much higher degree of attention, because in most cases the equipment is less likely to be oversized (it is rather “right-sized”) and there is more reliance on proper operation to maintain proper indoor conditions. Additionally, the HVAC equipment used may also require unique control or operational strategies to take advantage of energy-saving building envelope design features. EH&E’s depth of expertise in many areas, including energy-efficient designs and construction, was a valuable asset on this project to both owner and general contractor by helping to recommend solutions for “out-of-spec” issues that ensured intended performance while minimizing impacts on the schedule. EH&E also documented the fulfillment of contractor Operations and Maintenance documentation and training requirements to ensure that the operations and maintenance staff thoroughly understood the proper operational characteristics of the mechanical systems. All systems scheduled for commissioning were tested, documented and any corrections made prior to hand-off and subsequent occupancy by Genzyme employees.

In addition to providing LEED commissioning requirements, EH&E also performed tasks aimed at obtaining additional points including:
• Building Flush-out Plan – EH&E wrote the flush-out plan as an integral part of the IAQ point for the construction team
• “Additional Cx” – Includes focused reviews of the construction documents during design phase
• Measurement and Verification (M&V) – EH&E created an M&V plan to give the customer a tool to measure system performance and energy use for key systems for the life of the building

The result has been a building that is truly unique both its architectural design and its impact on the environment. EH&E is proud to have played a role in a project that represents the future in building design, and looks forward with Genzyme to obtaining the coveted platinum rating.

Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner rendering
Behnisch, Behnisch and Partner rendering
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