Auburn Universities new $22M Advanced Structural Engineering Laboratory (ASEL) was dedicated on June 11, 2021. The facility is 42,000 SF, and boasts a high bay laboratory with a strong wall and strong floor specially engineered to handle extreme structural testing loads; a geotechnical chamber within the strong floor, a concrete materials research and testing laboratory, wind testing capabilities that can replicate hurricane level loads, and an office/classroom wing that houses faculty and graduate research student spaces. The geotechnical test chamber is the only one like it in the country at a university laboratory.
The building has achieved LEED Certified rating, with a focus on energy and water conservation throughout the design. Rainwater is collected off the roof into an onsite above grade cistern, used for flushing and cooling tower make-up. The HVAC system includes a displacement ventilation system in the high bay, reduced airflow requirements and HVAC energy significantly over traditional systems. The main HVAC system consists of two high efficiency air cooled chillers piped in series, added to the energy efficiency of the system, and a variable primary flow pumping arrangement. Desuperheaters on the air cooled chiller provide supplemental heating to the hydronic heating system, which requires a lot of reheat in the due to the high ACH requirements of the laboratory. Air-to-air energy recovery was included in the office wing for additional energy savings.
The project won a 2021 AIA Alabama Honor Award. HHB was consulting mechanical engineers with Chambless King Architects on the project.
Read more here from the official Auburn University press release: https://eng.auburn.edu/news/2021/06/asel-dedication