Friday, February 25, 2011

Lunder Building fifth floor houses infrastructural hub

This summer’s opening of the Lunder Building is creating buzz and excitement in the MGH community. MGH Hotline continues its series of articles describing each of the programs and services moving into the building with an article focusing on the building’s infrastructural hub – the fifth floor level, which is devoted entirely to housing the heating, ventilation, air and cooling (HVAC) and other mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems.

Air Handler Units: The 13 Lunder Building air handler units each are approximately the size of a tour bus.

In order to fit the tremendous amount of duct work, pipes and electrical, cooling and filter systems, the fifth floor is a two-story level approximately 30 feet high and 40,000 square feet. Walking through the maze of equipment, one immediately notices the massive silver-colored sheet metal ducts and huge insulated water pipes that send heated and cooled air and water throughout the building.

“The HVAC system in the Lunder Building is one of the most advanced systems around,” says Jim Guiry, MGH senior construction manager. “There are 13 air handler units, each the size of a tour bus, that heat or cool the air. The heated or cooled air is distributed either up to the top floors or down to the lower floors. It’s more efficient to locate the system in the middle of the building, because the air and water are only being sent halfway up to the top floors and halfway down to the bottom floors rather than all the way up or down the entire building.”

In outfitting the mechanical room with the major pieces of HVAC and MEP equipment, architects used the Building Interior Management System (BIMS), a three-dimensional computer software program, to precisely design where each piece of machinery would be located. Before construction of the exterior walls of the building was completed, workers used a large crane to lift the larger pieces of equipment, including the air handler units, into place through the unfinished opening.

“Architects used BIMS to determine in what order to place each piece of machinery – much like a puzzle – through the opening and onto the floor,” says Guiry. “Then, once everything was in place, we continued construction and closed things up.”

MGH Buildings and Grounds will maintain the fifth floor systems. “We are very excited about the state-of-the-art equipment and systems chosen for the building infrastructure,” says George MacNeil, director of MGH Buildings and Grounds. “We are looking forward to the challenge of operating and maintaining such a complex facility.”

For more information about the Lunder Building, access   


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