Oakland University Human Health Science Building Geothermal Heat Pump Systems Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Oakland University Human Health Science Building Geothermal Heat Pump Systems
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act – Geothermal Technologies Program: Ground Source Heat Pumps
Project Type / Topic 2 Topic Area 1: Technology Demonstration Projects
Project Description This project will enhance the energy efficiency of the building, substantially reducing both operating cost and the building carbon footprint. The proposed design will be one of the most efficient geothermal heat pump systems available, making use of variable refrigerant flow heat pumps, solar-thermally activated desiccant outdoor air supply, and multiple methods of waste heat recovery. The design will be a showcase green building project for the area.

The proposed Human Health Building will house the School of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing. Collectively, this new enterprise is part of Oakland University's vision of better preparing today's health care students by creating an innovative partnership in one structure. With this new building, growth in undergraduate and graduate enrollment can be doubled in response to vital shortages in nursing and heavy demand for health science professionals. The project will be 160,260 square feet. The University will be breaking ground in the spring of 2010. The site is located in the northwest corner of campus near the intersection of Squirrel Road and Walton Blvd. Adjacent to this site will be the future homes of OU William Beaumont School of Medicine as well as a future medical research building, both approximately 150,000 square feet total. Therefore, total construction for this medical complex will be approximately 450,000 square feet over the next several years.

State Michigan
Objectives Construct a ground sourced heat pump, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system for the new Oakland University Human Health Sciences Building (HHB).
Awardees (Company / Institution) Oakland University
Awardee Website http://www.oakland.edu/
Partner 1 SmithGroup

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000116
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $2,752,163.00
Awardee Cost Share $7,046,681.00
Total Project Cost $9,798,844.00

Principal Investigator(s) Jim Leidel, Energy Manager, Oakland University
Other Principal Investigators Jeff Hausman, Principal in Charge, SmithGroup
Targets / Milestones Specific goals will be to supplement the base project HVAC systems budget to allow for a full geothermal system (as opposed to the planned partial, hybrid system) as well as add an innovative solar thermal driven desiccant dehumidification system to the outdoor air supply. The system will utilize variable refrigerant flow heat pump units, including both refrigerant side and condenser water side heat recovery. This grant request will provide additional capital cost to the established HHB project budget. The resulting HVAC systems will highly innovative and will be more economical to operate due to increased efficiencies.

The scope of this five year project includes the engineering and design of the enhanced system components, equipment and material costs, construction and commissioning, followed by a three year monitoring and verification phase. The efficiency and performance of this innovative building design will be fully monitored and recorded for dissemination and review.

Location of Project Rochester, MI

Impacts Innovative hybrid GHP system design offers potential for improving efficiency of GHP systems in similar applications.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs