University opens ‘living lab’ of energy efficiency

“We’re not thinking about state of the art,” said David Mark Riz, a principal with KieranTimberlake, the Philadelphia architectural firm that designed the renovation project. “We want these improvements to be accessible, off the shelf – state of the shelf.”

Gov. Corbett, Mayor Nutter, Penn State president Rodney A. Erickson, and Kathleen Hogan, a deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, are to attend Wednesday’s groundbreaking.

The administration of former Gov. Ed Rendell provided $30 million to renovate the building and also for a new Penn State Center for Building Energy Education and Innovation across South 12th Street from the EEB Hub. The two contain about 65,000 square feet.

The new Penn State center will contain all the bling: solar panels, geothermal heat pump, vegetative cover on the roof. Though not as sexy, the EEB Hub headquarters is aimed more at the institution’s mission of developing cost-effective solutions for existing structures.

The project has a secondary mission: to demonstrate the benefits of the integrated design process, in which the architect and building contractor are involved in the project from the beginning. Balfour Beatty Construction, one of the nation’s largest construction managers, is the general contractor.

Steven V. DiBartolo, the Navy Yard’s project manager, said the benefit of integrated design is reducing costly change orders and delays during construction, but requires a “big cultural shift” for clients to bring the contractor in on the design.

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