User Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Peter Edwards.  Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.


This Page was last updated on 4/19/2011, by Peter Edwards and is hosted by the Architectural Engineering Department © 2010

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The thesis proposal presents information that outlines the different revisions that will be made to various systems in Des Places, with a stronger emphasis on the mechanical system.  The proposal also outlines the steps that will be taken to analyze the proposed changes and the programs and standards that will be used to complete the outlined work in the Spring 2011 semester.  Click on the image below for a full PDF file of the Thesis Proposal for Des Places Residence Hall.

Depth Topics of Study:


The purpose of this proposal is to redesign Des Places to minimize the buildings energy consumption and emissions footprint and possibly create a more comfortable environment for the buildings occupants.  One design alternative outlined in this report is replacing the fan coil units in the existing DOAS system with chilled beams and baseboard radiators.  A solar hot water system is also outlined in this report as an alternative way to meet the entire heating load for the domestic hot water system.  Increasing the size of all of the bedroom windows is also examined for the purpose of increasing natural daylighting.  The use of solar shading will be evaluated as a way to reduce the increased solar heat gain on the building envelope as a result of the redesigned glazing.


Breadth Topics of Study:


The electrical distribution system for Des Places will have to be reevaluated based on the proposed changes being made in the design of the building.  The first change to the electrical system is the loss of the photovoltaic panels on the 12th floor roof, as a result of the solar hot water system replacing them.  This array of PVs accounted for 1% of the buildings total electricity supply.  There will also be an increase in the buildings electrical use if automated solar shades are used for all of the bedroom and living room windows.  Each one of these solar shades will be driven by a small electric motor.  Although the electrical demand of each motor will be very small, hundreds of motors will be needed for all of the windows.  The total electrical consumption of all of these motors could have an impact on the electrical distribution system for the building.  An energy analysis will have to be performed to see if the initial cost and electrical consumption of the automated solar shading is worth the reduction in solar heat gain.  An electrical analysis will be done and compared to the current design to ensure all of the necessary electrical loads are met.



The addition of solar hot water collectors on the 12th floor roof and on top of the penthouse will increase the dead load for both of these roof structures.  The increased load from these solar arrays will have to be determined and the existing structural system will need to be reevaluated to determine if it can safely hold the additional weight.  The superstructure of Des Places consists of steel framing made with ASTM A50 carbon steel.  The roofs of both the 12th Floor and penthouse are supported by an orthogonal grid of wide flange beams.  This roof structure will most likely have to be redesigned to meet the additional load of the solar thermal system.


Masters of Architectural Engineering Topics:


In order to fulfill the MAE requirements for Senior Thesis, graduate level courses must be incorporated into the redesign of Des Places.  Material from the following courses will be utilized in the proposed changes to fulfill this requirement.  In AE 558 (Centralized Heating) the topics of life cycle cost analysis and payback period was covered to evaluate whether the energy savings from a heating system was worth its initial cost.  A detailed life cycle cost analysis will be performed for the solar hot water system to determine what it’s payback period will be and to ultimately decide if it saves enough energy to justify its initial cost.  Knowledge learned from AE 557 (Centralized Cooling) will be used when evaluating the alternative chilled beam system and in determining the reduced load on the central chiller plant as a result of changing the buildings cooling system from fan coil units to chilled beams.  AE 559 (Computational Fluid Dynamics in Building Design) will be taken next semester during the redesign of Des Places.  This class covers the basic principles behind computational fluid dynamics and shows students how to create CFD models using the software package PHOENICS.  This software package will be used to create two basic models of a typical bedroom in Des Places.  One model will use chilled beams and baseboard radiators to condition the space and the other will use a fan coil unit.  These models will be compared to assess how the hot and cold air moves through the space for each alternative and will show which system creates a more uniform temperature throughout the room.


Click on the picture below for the full PDF file of the revised depth and breadth proposals.



The electrical breadth study in the original thesis proposal was replaced with a daylighting study that is shown below.




Increasing the window size of the bedrooms and living rooms on the exterior of Des Places should allow much more natural daylight into the rooms during the day.  This will consequently reduce the need for indoor lighting in these spaces and create a more enjoyable and comfortable environment for the students living in these rooms.  A daylighting study will be performed for at least one typical bedroom to quantifiably show the improvement in natural daylighting that comes from increasing the size of the windows.  This study will be done with the computer software AGI, and the three dimensional models of the rooms will be built with Revit Architecture and Autocad and then imported into AGI.  This study will hopefully show a large increase in natural daylight entering the rooms and also give a visual depiction of where the daylight is strongest and weakest in the room.





Peter Edwards          

The Pennsylvania State University



AE Computer Labs

Senior Thesis Home Page

Contact: pie5002@psu.edu

PITTSBURGH, PA          

Architectural Engineering 

Mechanical Engineering

The Pennsylvania State University