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An artist's rendering of the UTRC.
An artist's rendering of the UTRC.

Showcase Project: United Technologies Research Center

Sector Type

Industrial

Location

East Hartford, Connecticut

Project Size

185,000 Square Feet

Financial Overview

$4,200,000

Annual Energy Use

Baseline (2015)
259 kBtu/sq. ft.
Estimated (2015)
238 kBtu/sq. ft.
Actual
Coming Soon

Energy Savings:

8%

Annual Energy Cost

Baseline (2015)
$1.45 million
Estimated (2015)
$1.32 million
Actual
Coming Soon

Cost Savings:

9%
Background

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is a global network of centralized research facilities that support United Technologies Corporation (UTC) business units in developing new technologies and processes. UTRC focuses on advancements in the fields of building equipment and the aerospace industry.  In the summer of 2015, UTC began expanding and renovating its UTRC facility in East Hartford, Connecticut. The project's scheduled completion is mid-2017.  

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While the existing UTRC facility encompasses 400,000 square feet, the project entails renovation of 135,000 square feet of existing office and laboratory space and construction of 50,000 square feet of new workspace.

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Solutions

Sustainable building design is an important attribute for all UTC new construction and renovation projects. This UTRC project incorporates sustainable design features such as under carpet flat wire to provide electric power and data cabling to work stations, daylight harvesting with solar tubes and LED lighting controls. The steel used in the 50,000 square foot new construction project is made from 90% recycled materials. Sustainable design features extend to the exterior of the building and include landscaping with indigenous plants that do not require irrigation and twelve electric vehicle charging stations for use by employees that drive zero/low emission vehicles.  

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Energy efficiency, and value were important elements in planning the UTRC expansion and renovation project. The new construction and renovated space will incorporate one new energy efficient Carrier chiller, twelve new air handling units with variable frequency drives, LED lighting with daylighting controls, and an Automated Logic building management system designed to optimize the efficiency of the building by controlling the existing and new mechanical equipment at peak efficiency. The mechanical systems in engineering labs are equipped with heat reclamation to capture the heat in the exhaust air and provide preheat to make-up air units. The BMS will also monitor and track energy efficiency across the entire facility.

While UTC is investing $50 million in its East Hartford UTRC facility, $4.2 million of that total is specific to the energy efficiency projects being implemented. As a result of the renovations, energy use intensity across the UTRC facility is expected to improve by 8%, and by 20% in the 185,000 square feet directly affected by the renovation.

The UTRC facility will also be used to demonstrate nascent controls technologies that come out of a grid modernization research partnership. In February 2016, UTRC was selected to partner with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) as part of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) ARPA-E Network Optimized Distributed Energy Systems (NODES) program. NODES aims to improve the overall efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electric grid and enable renewables penetration at the 50 percent level or greater.

The goal of the project is to develop algorithms that will enable a building to adjust its electrical loads to balance HVAC performance in order to accommodate changes in demand across the grid. UTRC is specifically tasked with understanding how much energy flexibility is available within buildings to support the smart grid and with developing necessary controls to shift demand at the building level.

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Other Benefits

The new UTRC space will take advantage of wireless technology and under carpet wiring to minimize building costs. And UTC plans to apply modularity and related planning concepts to the new and renovated space, enabling rapid changes to accommodate new programs and employee-teaming arrangements. For example, the facility will have the flexibility of demountable walls.

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