The Gaige Building



Final Report


Below is the final report that has been prepared for my architectural engineering senior thesis. this thesis was submitted to fulfill both the requriements for the AE senior thesis as well as the undergraduate senior thesis required by the Schreyer Honors College. Please click on the link below to access a PDF of the report. Also, below the link is an abstract for the report.

Matthew Neal's Final Report


The Gaige Building is located in Reading, PA on the Penn State Berks campus. It has a classroom, office, and lab type occupancy, and is LEED Gold certified. For my senior thesis project, I conducted an extensive analysis of the current design of the Gaige Building, and from that analysis developed several alternatives to potentially improve the current mechanical system in the building. A model of the Gaige Building was constructed in Trace 700, an hourly analysis energy modeling program, and the results from this model were validated against actual energy consumption data from the Gaige Building. Then, a newly designed geothermal system was implemented into the current design of the Gaige Building. Sizing requirements of the geothermal loops were determined for both vertical and horizontal loop designs, and another Trace 700 energy model implemented the new geothermal system. The success of the geothermal system was then evaluated by comparing the emissions from the original and geothermal model, along with a life-cycle costs analysis weighing the increased first costs of the geothermal system against the annual energy savings.

Both the horizontal and vertical loop systems decreased annual pollutant emissions by roughly 2.0%, and the horizontal and vertical loop systems had a discounted payback period of 6.13 and 12.7 years respectively. Another analysis was then performed to determine if implementing a campus wide geothermal system would be feasible. The well field was sized and designed for the campus system, and a block load energy model was created and validated with actual energy consumption data from utility billing information. The campus wide system was found to decrease annual emission by 27%, but did not offer a reasonable payback period over the life of the system. Finally, an acoustical analysis of the Gaige Building was conducted, showing that the classrooms within the building are in accordance with the classroom acoustics standard, except for some poor transmission loss and standard transmission coefficient ratings for unsealed partitions on the second floor. Heat pump locations were also analyzed to determine a layout that would not negatively impact the background noise levels of the office and classroom spaces within the Gaige Building.

Executive Summary

For an exectutive summary of the report, please click on the picture shown below:

Executive Summary

All photograph and graphics used in the final report were used with permission from Penn State Berks and Illumination Arts. The uses of these photographs was much appriciated!

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Building Statistics
Thesis Abstract
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Final Report
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This page was last updated on April 24th, 2014 by Matthew Neal and is hosted by the AE Department, Copyright 2014

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 isconsidered 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 Matthew Neal. 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.