University of Minnesota – Morris

For their new Welcome Center, the University of Minnesota Morris needed to preserve and restore a building’s century-old historical characteristics while integrating the most modern sustainable technologies. The architects charged with designing the new building chose KFI Engineers as their mechanical and electrical engineering partner because of KFI’s experience with sustainability and their ability to collaborate with all the stakeholders on the project.

Highlights of the project include:

Daylighting for Energy Efficiency

In the 1970s, the large windows of the building were partially covered in an attempt to make it more energy efficient. The architects worked with KFI to find ways not only to open up the windows and bring the building more in line with its original design, but also to use daylighting to increase the efficiency of the building.

Maximized Use of Space

KFI found ways to minimize the space required for the HVAC system to support the architects in creating an open design that could house offices for admissions, alumni relations, fund development, community engagement and university relations. Working with the ductwork and ceilings, KFI allowed more daylight into the rooms and helped the architects create a feeling of open space throughout the building.

Thoughtful Modeling and Design

KFI found ways to minimize the space required for the HVAC system to support the architects in creating an open design that could house offices for admissions, alumni relations, fund development, community engagement and university relations. Working with the ductwork and ceilings, KFI allowed more daylight into the rooms and helped the architects create a feeling of open space throughout the building.

Bringing KFI into the process early allowed the architects to get valuable information about the performance of the building envelope, as well as available HVAC technologies, window glass and framing. KFI arranged demonstrations of chilled beam technology for the architects and owners, resulting in the first building in Minnesota and the first building listed on the National Register of Historic Places to use energy efficient chilled beam technology.

KFI also upgraded the thermal performance of the building envelope; installed new electrical and communication technology systems; a new sprinkler system; and new mechanical systems including variable air volume based on occupancy and radiant heating.

Completed in January 2010, the Welcome Center was built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards—and in February 2012 attained LEED Gold Certification. The U of M Morris campus has a goal of being energy self-sufficient and carbon neutral, and the redesigned building is modeled to have an energy savings of over 50 percent and a 48 percent cost savings. In addition, the Welcome Center received the 2011 Minnesota Construction Association’s (MCA) Special Recognition Award and was featured in the January/February 2011 issue of Architecture Minnesota.