University of Southern California- UPC Housing HVAC Project Feasibility Study


Goss Engineering analyzed several options for multiple dormitory buildings to retrofit HVAC into the existing unconditioned buildings.


Goss was the mechanical engineer-of-record.


Package Terminal Air Conditioning Unit

Variable Refrigerant Flow

Tying into the existing chilled water loop

New Central Utility Plant


The University of Southern California (USC) commissioned a design team, that included Goss Engineering, to conduct an engineering study to evaluate the addition of air conditioning to buildings specified by USC’s housing department and make recommendations to improve thermal comfort.

The study looked at a total of nine (9) buildings, with over 1,150 rooms. The heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems within the existing buildings had only heating in the dormitory rooms via a radiator under each window and ventilation provided through the existing operable windows. The study proposed to add a total of 1,120 tons to air-condition the existing buildings. The following systems were considered:

  1. Package Terminal Air Conditioning (PTAC) Units
    • Not constructible, due to structural impacts on most of the buildings
  2. 4-Pipe Fan Coil units with new water-cooled chiller plant
    • Cost prohibitive, requiring a new chilled water plant
    • Requiring space in the vicinity of these buildings
  3. Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems
    • Constructible, ideal for retrofit applications
    • Energy efficient

To provide air conditioning to the buildings studied, due to the utility cost, constructibility, maintainability, energy use, installation cost, life cycle cost analysis; the team recommended providing VRF systems to most of the buildings. For two (2) buildings, the team recommended providing 4-pipe fan coil units due to the presence of a chilled water stub out for the building.