Mill Woods Library, Seniors, and Multicultural Facility

The striking new Mill Woods Library, Seniors and Multicultural Facility is a two-storey, dual-functioning facility that consists of over 50,000 square feet of total floor area. This community space is pursuing LEED® Gold certification, and energy simulation models indicate an energy savings of 41 percent when compared to the Model National Energy Code for Buildings in Canada, 1997. Williams Engineering provided mechanical and electrical consulting engineering services for this project.

The facility, operated by the City of Edmonton, contains a 25,000-square-foot library located on the main floor, which features quiet rooms, public computer stations, several unique spaces, and staff administration and support areas. The Seniors and Multicultural Centre on the second floor includes a large multipurpose program spaces, meeting rooms, a full commercial and catering kitchen, a dining area, a games room, and administrative space. Together, the two functional programs have been unified into a single community hub.

Despite the diverse needs of the space, the facilities use a single central plant that includes high-efficiency condensing boilers, modular chillers, variable speed pumps, and an energy recovery ventilation unit. Solar energy is also harvested at a rooftop hydronic solar collector and used to preheat the domestic hot water supply for the building.

“A dual core air-to-air heat recovery ventilator was installed to provide fresh air in the building. On the coldest day, a design day, used for heating design calculations, the ventilator unit recovers enough outgoing exhaust airflow to provide 86% of the heading load required for the incoming fresh air. Only the remaining 14% requires heat provided by a natural gas boiler plant. But most days of the year, which are mild, the unit can heat the fresh air entirely from recovered waste energy.” – Chad Musselwhite, Team Lead – Mechanical

The Edmonton Public Library wanted open and flexible spaces that could adapt to potential space functions from one day to the next. The access floor system allowed the team to meet several project goals in terms of flexibility, indoor environmental quality, ease of maintenance and design aesthetics while implementing flexible and cost-effective mechanical and electrical systems. The access floor is used to deliver ventilation, heating and cooling to the library occupants and as a pathway for plumbing, power, data and telecom services.

The dramatic ceiling of the library space is sloped and folded along angular, diverging lines, which are also punctuated by the impressively integrated lighting design. This collaboration of unique ceiling character, natural light, and intimately integrated lighting design carries on beautifully throughout the facility. The lighting systems are also energy-efficient and use a combination of LED and fluorescent fixtures, which operate from a central lighting controller.

“Tight coordination of mechanical and electrical systems within unique and aesthetically expressive architecture is always a challenge.  We worked carefully with our architectural counterparts to really understand and appreciate what they were trying to achieve so that our system designs could support this vision.  The use of building information modeling software also allowed us to better understand some of the more complex geometries and show where and how the building systems could integrate within them as the design progressed.” – Chad Musselwhite, Team Lead – Mechanical

A combination of operable windows and louvers on both levels of the facility allows an element of natural ventilation and connection with the outdoors to be achieved when outdoor conditions support it. The mechanical systems in the building are operated by a fully digital Building Management System (BMS) using the non-proprietary BACnet protocol.

“The team relationships that developed during the Jasper Place Library project helped strengthen the design collaboration and the team took the additional step of employing building information modeling software – Autodesk Revit – to support that collaboration.” – Chad Musselwhite, Team Lead – Mechanical