NEIU El Centro

Chicago, Illinois


Michael Gramarossa

Mechanical Option



Student Biography

Building Statistics
Thesis Abstract
Technical Assignments
Thesis Proposal
Final Report

Senior Thesis e-Studio



Original Proposal December 12, 2014


Updated Proposal January 16, 2014


Mechanical Depth:

This project was designed using the 2010 Chicago Building Code (CBC).  The CBC is unique in that it requires a certain amount of supply air to the space, regardless of what the heating and cooling loads require.  This forces equipment to be larger, and therefore more expensive.  In the last few years with the improvement of thermal envelopes and lighting efficiencies, the difference between the load required supply air and the CBC required supply air has increased.

I would like to resize the air handling units to not comply with the CBC, but instead comply with more common codes across the country that refer to ASHRAE requirements.  Savings that are associated with smaller air handling units include, but are not limited to, equipment first cost, energy savings, less structural steel, and smaller ductwork.  Resizing the RTU’s and the main ductwork will be good design experience and will be an interesting analysis of the Chicago Building Code.

Cost and energy savings associated with complying and not complying with the CBC will be compared and analyzed.  Pollution emission reduction will also be analyzed.  Chicago is a city with 2.7 million residents and is the third largest city in the United States.  It is believed that buildings account for about 40% of all energy consumed in the United States, compared to about 70% in Chicago.  Although my analysis will focus on energy reduction for El Centro, a study can be conducted to look into the impacts on a grand scale if Chicago was to update their building code and change the mechanical HVAC system sections to be more in line with other codes across the country.   

Structural Breadth:

Since there will most likely be a significant decrease in the size of the roof top air handling units, some of the steel on the roof will have to be reframed to appropriately support the load.  There will be a material and cost analysis conducted to see how much less steel can used and how much money can be saved by using a smaller frame to support the RTU’s.  The AISC Steel Construction Manual will be utilized for the calculations and sizing. 

Electrical Breadth:

The power to the new roof top air handling units is likely to be decreased, although the buildings electrical arrangement will remain the same.  Electrical equipment for the RTUs such as conductors, circuit boards, and conduit may need to be resized according to the new horsepower and/or load amps associated with the RTUs.  The main power delivery line into the building may be able to decrease in feeder size.  The National Electric Code will be utilized for the calculations and sizing.

Masters Coursework:

Several aspects of 500-level Architectural Engineering coursework will be incorporated into this thesis project.  Centralized Heating Production and Distribution Systems (AE 558) will help aid in a life-cycle cost of the heating plant for the building.  Content from Building Automation and Control Systems (AE 555) will help to appropriately re-size the rooftop air handling units to minimally optimize energy consumption.



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‐inprogress 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 Michael Gramarossa. 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 01.16.2015, by Michael Gramarossa and is hosted by the AE Department ©2014.