An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Design at ANSYS Hall

© Nic Lehoux

We are pleased to announce that ANSYS Hall at Carnegie Mellon University has earned LEED Gold certification as established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). A hive for teaching, prototyping, and implementation, the 36,000 square-foot project completes the College of Engineering’s “Maker Ecosystem” that includes nano-, micro-, and macro- fabrication. From the adaptable high-bay makerspace to collaborative classrooms, the building was designed to evolve with changing technologies and allows for flexibility to maximize its long-term potential.

A holistic design approach is essential to the success of a high-performance facility like ANSYS Hall. We worked with Carnegie Mellon University to understand sustainability goals and current efforts on campus and collaborated with a multi-disciplinary team that included Mosites (general contractor), BuroHappold (MEP), Langan Engineering (civil), BrightTree Studios (technology design) Klavon Design Associates (landscape), evolveEA (sustainability consultant), and others. We embraced opportunities to integrate systems that worked seamlessly with the overall design and improved performance and occupant wellbeing while transitioning an underutilized site into a vibrant new campus destination.

© Nic Lehoux

ANSYS Hall was built on an old parking lot sandwiched between neighboring buildings, just off the original campus mall. Bringing density and new use to an underdeveloped portion of the campus, the project takes advantage of its constrained site to create new connections between engineering disciplines, as well as new pedestrian pathways. ANSYS Hall connects with four separate buildings at seven unique floor levels, with ample use of glass to provide layers of transparency, acting as a physical bridge between engineering buildings while bringing together multiple academic departments and the software company ANSYS, Inc.

© Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

ANSYS Hall uses a dual mechanical system that serves fabrication and offices spaces separately, providing building controllability while significantly increasing energy performance — the project uses 30% less energy than buildings of similar size and occupancy. The vertical aluminum fins and horizontal screening on the exterior were computationally optimized through simulation to balance the desire for clear views with the need for visual and thermal comfort in reducing glare and solar heat gain.

Operable windows in collaboration and office areas allow occupants control of their environmental comfort with natural ventilation. Expansive glass panels maximize daylight, while the large overhead door in the high-bay provides indoor/outdoor flexibility in temperate months.

Water management diagram © Bohlin Cywnski Jackson; ANSYS Hall aerial © Nic Lehoux

Carnegie Mellon University has incorporated stormwater management projects to mitigate runoff on campus. Located at a lower elevation than the neighboring Mall, ANSYS Hall uses a series of visible and subsurface features to manage stormwater within a site comprised predominantly of hardscape. The courtyard supports two rain gardens that capture, clean, and infiltrate stormwater. During significant rain, there is a stormwater overflow from the rain gardens to a subsurface detention basin that allows for containment and slow release of the water into the campus stormwater system. The design also includes a green roof that reduces runoff and improves water quality, while providing a natural habitat for pollinators and other small wildlife.

The 24th LEED-certified project on campus, ANSYS Hall furthers Carnegie Mellon University’s goal of achieving a minimum LEED Silver rating for new construction and significant renovations.

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