Energy Performance

Key to the building's energy performance is an airtight building envelope, says architect Greg Packer of Salt Lake City-based EDA Architects Inc., which worked with NBBJ of San Francisco to complete the master planning, programming and design.

The east and south sides of the building are wrapped in a terra-cotta rain screen that creates a vented cavity between the cladding and outermost layer of insulation. Along the west wall, an expansive curtain-wall system consists of low-e glazing in thermally broken frames. The atrium connects to the existing building at the north.

"We wanted the new building's exterior to complement the brick on the existing building but not copy it," Packer says. "The terra-cotta exterior has the warmth and color of brick but with a more modern look."

Before construction of the walls, Jacobsen's crew built two models of the exterior wall assembly at the site and ran a series of water and air tests. The process proved valuable, heading off what could have been expensive air and water leakage with the planned metal flashings around the window frames, says John Wright, Jacobsen's construction manager.

"We usually push pretty hard to incorporate modeling and testing into the schedule and budget of any project," Wright says. "It gives us the chance to work through any problems on the construction side."

After several adjustments failed to resolve the issue, the team ended up replacing the metal flashings with a flexible ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing membrane that had a stronger seal between joints.

"Building the models is by far one of the best decisions we made on this project," says Joseph Harmen, program manager of campus design and construction at the university. "It turns out that the flashing details we all thought were wonderful are not so great when you're trying to make a building airtight and watertight."


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