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19 February 2016

BIM Supports HOK’s Sustainable Design Strategies at LEED Gold NOAA Inouye Regional Center

NOAA Daniel K. Inouye

Building information modeling helped HOK’s team test sustainable design strategies at the NOAA’s Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Autodesk’s Line//Shape//Space explored how ecological features, including a passive cooling system and solar tubes, decrease energy use at the facility by more than 30 percent, compared to conventional design.

“The 350,000-square-foot building is really three buildings. The architects repurposed two historic hangars designed in 1939 by Albert Kahn, which they glued together with a new three-story steel-and-glass volume. Several cutting-edge technologies, including a passive cooling system never before used in Hawaii, help the complex use less than half of the energy of a comparable building.”

“The passive cooling system essentially works like a reverse radiator. … The system uses deep seawater pumped to the roof from a 1,300-foot-deep well. The water, naturally cold at 58 degrees Fahrenheit or so, flows into a series of chilled coils.

“Air captured by the building’s wind scoops flows over the coils, and as it cools, it drops to the base of the building through a thermal chimney. From there, it is distributed throughout the building using nothing but the natural buoyancy of warming air.”

“Today, with the building [close] to capacity, Paul Woolford, design principal for HOK’s San Francisco office, says the system is working as designed, contributing to a 60-percent improvement in efficiency over the ASHRAE baseline.

NOAA Hawaii

“Using Autodesk Revit, Woolford’s team built a fully realized 3D model of the complex and analyzed the sun’s path across the site. Using that information, dozens of apertures were punched in the hangar roofs. Solar tubes direct sunlight into the workspaces through finned diffusers that drop from the ceiling like enormous, square Slinkys. Those translucent fins, which are connected by steel cables, serve two purposes: scattering the sunlight to reduce glare and reflecting it back to the ceiling, where it is further diffused.

“According to the architects, this passive lighting system reduces electrical lighting loads by 50 percent (a considerable savings in Hawaii, where the price of a kilowatt-hour of electricity is more than three times higher than elsewhere in the U.S.). Woolford says using Revit also allowed the architects ‘to test ideas in ways that we could verify and confirm—because the government didn’t want to build an experiment.’”