Pennovation Center, a groundbreaking incubator space developed by the University of Pennsylvania, was certified LEED Gold by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Ballinger served as structural and MEP engineer of record for the project. Working hand-in-hand with design architect HWKN and architect-of-record KSS, Ballinger engineers helped transform a former DuPoint paint testing facility into the centerpiece of Pennovation Works, Penn’s innovation district.
The design of the energy systems is high performance, but with a start-up developer’s sensibility. A rooftop Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) unit with dual energy recovery wheels delivers dehumidified neutral air (63 degrees Fahrenheit) for ventilation of wet lab, dry lab and office work space without requiring any reheat. Cooling is provided via Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units in each space, and heating is via perimeter radiation powered by a prefabricated condensing boiler plant on the roof. According to Ballinger Principal Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP, “The system minimizes pre-investment – VRF units can be added as needed. It is also extremely flexible and able to accommodate a wide range of space uses without costly system modification or additions.” Sustainability and flexibility align with the project goal: to create an atmosphere for collaboration and creativity, with a “cool factor” to attract innovators from diverse disciplines.