FCA & Energy Use Profile

Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA



Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) purchased the Mehrabian Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC) building, a 300,000+ square foot lab and office building that consists of five tenant levels and four floors of parking/garage space. CMU needed more information to confidently and efficiently make more informed decisions on the future operations and maintenance expenditures in the newly acquired CIC building. We conducted a facility condition assessment and energy use profile for the building to gather, interpret, and organize information for CMU.

Solution Details

The facility condition assessment (FCA) of the building, identified 55 prioritized projects, with costs to develop a 10 year capital plan for Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU’s) newly acquired building. The assessment enabled CMU facilities management, finance, and real estate departments to quickly receive comprehensive facilities reports. The information collected and presented to CMU would be used to help each of the departments, understand the building needs, along with the budgets necessary for corrective actions to keep the building in good condition.

Since the building is occupied by numerous high-profile tenant businesses, keeping the building in good condition and operating without disruptions, is vitally important to CMU. The assessment categorized projects into high, medium and low priorities for the building envelope and MEP systems, to help plan for future renovations or upgrades and keep the building and systems operating. Additionally, the building’s tenants are responsible for the upkeep of their spaces. Projects were designated into “building”, “tenant”, and “garage” classes so that the CMU staff could allocate project cost responsibilities.

In addition to the FCA, a building energy profile was created with the goal to understand the building’s energy use and develop solutions to decrease its operating cost. We determined the 2014 site energy use intensity (EUI) of the building to be 199 kbtu/SF. The national median site EUI, for this type of facility (as determined by the Energy Information Administration), is 83.6 kbtu/SF. The annual energy cost was estimated to be $5.22 per SF. which is more than double the amount typically expected for this type of facility.

We found that the entire building utilizes electric resistance heating terminals and devices, primarily in the form underfloor base board electric strip heaters. Installation and controls for these systems were poor and are a significant source of energy inefficiency. The EUI profile indicated that although connecting the building to CMU’s central steam plant would dramatically reduce the buildings energy use and cost, the capital construction costs to connect the building would outweigh the savings, leading us to recommend the existing system be studied in more detail to improve its energy use and efficiency.

Fortunately for CMU, before any action was taken, an adjacent building received a new connection to their central steam plant, and the building was able to be connected with minimal capital construction costs.

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300,000 sq.ft. assessed

55 projects identified

199 kbtu/SF building energy use intensity

$139,500 estimated annual heating cost savings