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Augustana College Westerlin Residence Center


Augustana College wanted to renovate the Westerlin Residence Center, which was built in phases beginning in the late 1950s through the early 1960s. The 133,600-square-foot, three-story building’s three wings house freshmen and sophomore students.   Augustana College had experienced problems with its aging boiler system, which impacted heating for all three wings of the facility. To eliminate heating issues, improve energy efficiency, bring cooling to the dormitory for the first time, and meet current life safety codes, the building needed to upgrade its HVAC system.   The dormitory’s existing one-pipe system provided heating only; because temperatures got cooler as they traveled down the pipe, the rooms farthest away weren’t as warm.


Shive-Hattery designed a penthouse on the roof to conceal condensing units for a new air-cooled variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system. Refrigerant is piped down to the VRF units. By deploying a VRF system, Augustana College was able to eliminate Westerlin Residence Center’s maintenance-intensive boiler and reduce overall campus emissions.   The mechanical work was phased over three years, with HVAC upgrades for one wing being completed each summer. Each wing now has three heating and cooling systems instead of relying on one central system to serve the entire dorm. With the previous system, the entire building was without heat if the boiler system failed. Now, each wing operates independently with more flexibility.   New energy recovery ventilation units exchange the energy contained in exhausted air and use it to pre-condition outdoor ventilation air to reduce energy costs and heating/cooling loads.   With a new VRF system in place, the three wings of the Westerlin Residence Center can operate and control heating and cooling independently. If systems in one wing were to ever fail, the other two wings would still receive heating and cooling.


Students now have more individual temperature control in their dorm rooms, improving comfort levels. Energy costs have also been reduced for Augustana College by replacing the outdated boiler system with a more efficient VRF system.

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