University of California, Irvine, Steinhaus Hall Mechanical/HVAC Design


University of California, Irvine (UCI) Steinhaus Hall is a 6-story, Type-1 construction, approximately 107,000 square-foot laboratory building constructed in the early sixties and is UCI’s original laboratory building. The building has 5 floors plus a partially buried basement. The building occupancy consists primarily of research laboratories, teaching laboratories, classrooms, and offices. The laboratory building was experiencing thermal discomfort issues and the existing HVAC equipment was old and inefficient. UCI commissioned Goss Engineering to perform a mechanical HVAC study to assess the building thermal discomfort issues and analyze the existing HVAC equipment. Based on the study, Steinhaus Hall required a retrofit of the existing air-handling units and exhaust systems.


The HVAC study led to an HVAC upgrade design project wherein Goss Engineering was the prime consultant. The project involved the installation of 5 high-plume exhaust fans serving the laboratory fume hoods, manifolding all the existing fume hood exhaust stacks, and replacing an air-handling unit and heat-exchangers. The project required thorough coordination with the structural engineer to support the new high-plume exhaust fans on the roof due to the increased weight. Goss Engineering also provided project management assistance during the construction phase, responding to requests-for-information (RFIs), reviewing submittals, and attending on-site construction meetings, assisting the UCI project manager. The total construction cost for the project was approximately $3.5 million.


Today, Steinhaus Hall’s occupants have no thermal discomfort issues. Other benefits include energy savings due to retrofit of the existing air-handling unit fans with variable frequency drives (VFDs), and increased ease of maintenance with the replacement of more than 50 existing fume hood exhaust fans with 5 high-plume exhaust fans.