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Beckman Institute to get energy upgrades in next phase of campus ESCO project

The Beckman Institute is part of the next ESCO project at the University of Illinois, which will focus on lab upgrades.

Published on Feb. 7, 2020

The Beckman Institute is part of the next ESCO project at the University of Illinois. The project will upgrade laboratory facilities during this phase with three goals: reduce utility consumption, reduce deferred maintenance, and have the savings payback be less than 20 years. In addition to the lab upgrades, LED lighting will be installed in the Beckman atrium.

November 2021

  • Updates to the northwest basement heat recovery chiller plant are 90% complete.
  • Installation of new digital thermostat controls in larger conference rooms is still underway. All tower rooms are complete with the exception of the third floor.
  • Main air handling control conversion is ongoing, and no end date is provided at this time. Beckman’s main air handling system is still being controlled by the original pneumatic control system from 1989. This has come in very handy while the entire electronic control system is being replaced, and much work was involved in making this obsolete system operational.
  • The main air handling system feeding the DAR animal facility is expected to be completed in November.
  • There will be work scheduled in the auditorium and large conference room 1005 to replace the old supply boxes. It was found that these boxes are located in areas not accessible and will be moved to a location for better maintenance access. These boxes have been ordered but may not be here until December.
  • Updates on lab spaces:
    • 3636 HVAC work is underway. New valves had to be ordered to complete this work and they have not been delivered at this time.
    • 3638 HVAC work has been completed but a new duct may need to be run above the ceiling which is delaying the Schroeder group to move back into this space.

October 2021

  • Updates to the northwest basement heat recovery chiller plant are 90% complete.
  • Installation of new digital thermostat controls in larger conference rooms is still in progress.
  • Converting the main air handling controls is still in progress. No end date has been provided at this time. Beckman’s main air handling system is now being controlled by the original pneumatic control system from 1989. This has come in very handy while the entire electronic control system is being replaced.
  • Work is scheduled in the auditorium and 1005 Beckman large conference room either later this month or in November to replace the old air supply boxes. They will be moved to a new location for better maintenance access.

Updates on lab spaces:

  • HVAC work in 3636 and 3638 is in progress.
  • The extension of 22” duct line in the basement hallway has been completed.
  • B400 and B500 rooms have been completed.

September 2021

  • Updates to the northwest basement heat recovery chiller plant are 90% complete.
  • Installation of new digital thermostat controls in larger conference rooms is still in progress.
  • Main air handling controls conversion is happening now. No end date has been provided at this time.

Updates on lab spaces:

  • HVAC work in 3636 and 3638 is scheduled to start Tuesday, Sept. 7.
  • The extension of 22-inch duct line in basement hallway has been completed.
  • Rooms B400 and B500 should be completed by the week of Labor Day.

August 2021

  • Updates to the northwest basement heat recovery chiller plant are 90% complete.
  • Installation of new digital thermostat controls in larger conference rooms is progressing.
  • Main air handling controls conversion is ongoing with no end date provided at this time.

  • Updates on lab spaces:

  • The extension of 22” duct line in basement hallway was completed Saturday, July 24
  • B400 rooms were started and should be completed the first or second week in August
  • B500 area labs started July 26 and are expected to be under construction for 5-6 weeks
  • 3636 and 3638 have a tentative start date of Sept. 6

July 2021

  • 3636 and 3638 will be started after the basement lab work.
  • The extension of 22" duct line in the basement hallway is happening now and should be completed in July.
  • B400 rooms started last month and are scheduled to be complete by July 23.
  • B500 area labs are scheduled to start in late July and continue through August.

June 2021

Updates to the northwest basement heat recovery chiller plant are 85% complete. Installation of new digital thermostat controls in larger conference rooms are happening now.

Updates on lab spaces:

  • 3712, 3736, and 3734A are back in operation and DAR Wet Lab B663 has been completed
  • The extension of 22” duct line in basement hallway will be starting in early June
  • B400 rooms are scheduled to start in late June or early July
  • B500 area labs are scheduled to start in late July or early August
  • 3636 and 3638 will be started after the basement lab work


May 2021

Updates to the northwest basement heat recovery chiller plant are 85% complete.

Installation of new digital thermostat controls in larger conference rooms and the auditorium will be scheduled during the summer.

Updates on lab spaces:

  • 3710 & 3738 are complete and labs are back in operation
  • 3712, 3736, and 3734A — Started in mid-April and scheduled to be completed during the week of May 10
  • 3636 and 3638 – Tentative start is mid-May and completed in early to mid-June
  • The extension of 22” duct line in basement hallway and DAR wet lab B663 is tentatively scheduled to start in early to mid-June
  • B400 & B500 areas – has not been scheduled but is expected to follow the basement hallway work

April 2021

The new MIL Lab humidification system is being installed and scheduled to be completed by April 12.

Updated lab controls conversion schedule:

  • 3724 and 3732 are complete 3720 and 3734 – started mid-February and completed. Looking forward to new equipment for this lab
  • 3710 & 3738 — started March 15 and scheduled to be completed mid-to-late April
  • 3712, 3736, and 3734A — Tentative start is mid-April and completed mid-May
  • 3636, 3636A, and 3638 – Tentative start is early to mid-May and completed mid-June
  • B400 & B500 areas – has not been scheduled but is expected to follow the completion of the 3600 block

March 2021

  • The office-side and human MRI electrical outage originally scheduled for early February has been moved to the week of March 22. More details to come via email soon.
  • New PRISMA MRI humidification systems were installed Feb. 1-10. Both are operating well and maintaining the specified humidification levels at this time.
  • Work in the basement mechanical space continues as Beckman’s 30-year-old HVAC control system is being replaced with a new Siemens system.

Updated lab conversion schedule:

  • 3724 and 3732 are complete except for some plumbing work in 3732.
  • Work on 3720 and 3734 started mid-February and is expected to be complete by mid-March.
  • 3710 and 3738 are expected to start the week of March 8 and completed in mid-April.
  • B668 is scheduled to start March 25 and completed by early April. The tentative start for 3712, 3736, and 3734A is early to mid-April and completed mid-May.
  • The tentative start for 3636, 3636A, and 3638 is mid-May and completed mid-June.
  • Work in B400 and B500 areas has not been scheduled but is expected to follow the completion of the 3600 block.

February 2021

  • The electrical outage originally scheduled for early February has been postponed. A new scheduled outage will be set up for February or March once a new breaker has been delivered.
  • New replacement humidification systems are scheduled to be installed Feb. 1-10 for both PRISMA MRI rooms. These will be more efficient and reliable.
  • Work in the basement mechanical space continues as Beckman’s 30-year-old HVAC control system is being replaced with a new Siemens system.
  • One of two 75 horsepower motor and controls have been installed for the fume hood exhaust fans. The second motor has been installed and is currently in operation. The controls have not been completed at this time
  • Engineers and craftspeople are still drafting plans to replace Beckman’s main air handler and dedicated air handlers for the laser labs in the 3400 blocks.

    Lab conversion schedule:
  • 3724 and 3732 – in progress
  • 3720 and 3734 – starting the first week in February
  • 3710, 3738, and B668 – expected to start in early March
  • 3712, 3736, and 3734A – expected to start in late March or early April
  • The 1700 block and 3620, 3634, 3634A & B, and 3636A have all been completed

January 2021

  • Another electrical outage is tentatively scheduled for 6- 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2. That outage is dependent on the new breaker arriving.
  • 1700 block lab conversions are expected to be completed by mid-January. ESCO has started in 3620, 3634, 3634A & B, and 3636A. Construction is scheduled to start in 3724 and 3732 on Jan. 18, followed by 3720 and 3734 in February.
  • New replacement humidification systems are scheduled to be installed Feb. 1 for both PRISMA MRI rooms. These will be more efficient and reliable.
  • The new steam injection humidification system for the MIL lab in B668 was installed in December but not connected. ESCO is going to convert this lab to electronic controls. It's still being designed.
  • Work in the basement mechanical space continues as Beckman’s 30-year-old HVAC control system is being replaced with a new Siemens system.
  • One of two 75 horsepower motor and controls have been installed for the fume hood exhaust fans. The second should be fully functional by the end of January.
  • The 30-year-old control system will be replaced for the main building air handler as well as the dedicated air handlers serving the laser labs in the 3400 blocks. Engineers and craftspeople are drafting up plans to make this transition as smooth as possible.

December 2020

Updates on heat recovery chiller required utility outages:

  • The first of two electrical outages has been completed. It allows Schneider ESCO engineers to prepare for the new heat recovery chiller breaker installation early next year. The second outage has not been scheduled.
  • The November chilled water outage took three hours longer than expected, but Facilities & Services and contractors were able to install four new chilled water valves outside. This will reduce the number of buildings needing to be shut off while work is being done in adjacent buildings.

Other updates:

  • 2600 block lab conversions have been completed and most have been re-occupied by researchers.
  • 1700 block lab conversions are currently underway. 1710 and 1738 have been completed and remaining 1700 block labs should be completed by the end of the year.
  • ESCO is hoping to start in the third floor wet labs in January. The current plan is to start in the 3600 block, however, we have not yet been able to meet with all the researchers affected.
  • A new humidification system is going to be installed in Beckman’s MIL Lab in B668.
  • The preliminary schedule to install the new steam injection humidification system is set for the week of Dec. 14. This will include cutting out a portion of the concrete floor in and around the closet B662. Sawing and hammering work should be limited to Tuesday, Dec. 15.
  • Work in the basement mechanical space continues as Beckman’s 30-year-old HVAC control system is being replaced with a new Siemens system.

November 2020

  • Heat recovery chiller required utility outages: The first of two electrical outages has been scheduled from 7-11 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9. This outage will affect the entire office side of the building plus many utilities. Please check your email and pay attention to the signs on exterior doors for specific information for your area and what is affected.
  • Facilities & Services and contractors have scheduled a two-day chilled water outage starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, through 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11.
  • 2600 block lab conversions are going well, and all rooms except 2638 should be ready for occupancy the first or second week in November.
  • 1700 block lab conversions have started and expected to be completed by early December.
  • Work in the basement mechanical space continues as Beckman’s 30-year HVAC control system is being replaced with a new Siemens system.
  • A new humidification system is going to be installed in Beckman’s MIL Lab, B668. A timeline for this work to begin has not been set.

September 2020

  • Work on the fourth-floor elevator landing should be completed very soon.
  • The contractor has completed the replacement of the high bay lights in the atrium. If you get a chance take a look and see how bright they are while saving energy due to LED technology.
  • ESCO work in the basement mechanical space is continuing with the new heat recovery chiller and controls.
  • ESCO lab conversion work is in full swing. All but two labs in the 2700 block have been completed. They are finishing up the 2700 block and started in the 2600 block. The current schedule will be to finish up the 2600 block by mid-October and hope to move to the first floor 1700 block.

August 2020

ESCO lab conversion work is in full swing. All but two labs in the 2700 block are nearly done. Beckman’s facilities team meets weekly with ESCO officials. They’re discussing the next phases of the project:

  • Wet lab HVAC control work continues in the 2700 block. Preliminary start of the week sequence is as follows:
    • Aug. 3: Finish 2712, 2720, 2724, 2732, and 2736
    • Aug. 3: Start Microscopy wet lab B612
    • Aug. 10: Start 2710, 2738, 2620, 2620A, and 2636
    • Sept. 7: Start 2610, 2612, 2612A, 2638, and 2640
    • These dates may stagger but for best efficiency, ESCO plans to upgrade four wet labs at a time.
  • Smaller non-wet labs in the vicinity of the above rooms will have controls upgraded but not as extensively as in the wet labs.
  • ESCO work in the basement mechanical space has started back up with the new heat recovery chiller and controls.
  • Work on the fourth-floor elevator landing should be completed during August.
  • The contractor is currently replacing the high bay lights in the east end of the atrium. They are scheduled to complete this portion of the project by the first or second week in August. The west and center atrium high bay lights have been completed.

June 2020

ESCO Lab conversion work started again June 15 after a delay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the 2700 block labs were under construction prior to the stay-at-home order. It may take about a month to complete the 2700 block before moving to other areas.

Beckman’s facilities team meets weekly with ESCO officials. They’re discussing the next phases of the project.

In addition:

  • ESCO work in the basement has been on hold because of construction on the new 9.4 Tesla MRI.
  • Work on the fourth floor elevator landing will continue into July.
  • The contractor is currently replacing lights the west atrium and will continue to the middle and finally the east end. It’s expected to be done in August.

March 2020

  • Lab upgrades started Feb. 13 on the second floor. The first labs affected: 2720, 2720A, 2734, 2712, 2712A, 2736, and 2736A.
  • Labs 2734, 2720, and 2720A should be available starting the week of March 9.
  • Labs 2712, 2712A, 2736, and 2736A are scheduled to be completed the week of March 23.
  • Labs 2724 and 2732 are scheduled to be completed the week of March 30.
  • Labs 2710 and 2738 are scheduled to start construction the week of March 30. The work will move to the 2600 block by mid-April.
  • A heat recovery chiller is being installed. An all-building chilled water outage is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, to connect the new chiller to the existing chilled water system. Beckman's rooms may be warmer than usual that day.
  • A fume hood exhaust outage is being scheduled for a Saturday in the near future. Another update about this is coming soon.
  • Work in the fourth-floor elevator lobby continues. Please continue to use caution in this area.

February 2020 update

  • Lab HVAC upgrade will start Feb. 13 on the second floor. The first labs affected will be 2720, 2720A, 2734, 2712, 2712A, 2736, and 2736A.
  • The second set of affected labs will be 2724 and 2732, followed by 2710 and 2738. Work will then move to the 2600 block
  • A heat recovery chiller is being installed. An all-building reheat outage is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17, to connect the new HRC to the existing reheat system
  • A fume hood exhaust outage is being scheduled for a Saturday in the near future. Another update about this is coming soon.
  • Work in the fourth-floor elevator lobby continues. Please continue to use caution in this area.

December 2019 Update

The ESCO project has scheduled a total chemical fume hood outage from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. This involves all labs and adjacent labs with hoods and snorkels connected to the fume hood exhaust fans.

The project's lab HVAC conversion will begin in mid-February 2019, and will involve most web and ry labs on Beckman's north side. The work will last about a year.

May 2019 Update

As a part of ESCO, Schneider Electric and its subcontractors are currently working on mechanical renovations from the basement to the fifth floor of the Beckman Institute. Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 p.m., workers are using the southeast elevator for construction-related work. That elevator car is the only one going to the fourth floor during these hours (all elevators may be available during other times).

Faculty, staff, and students who work at the Beckman Institute not going to the fourth floor are asked to use the west elevators. Whenever possible, fourth-floor residents should take the stairs. The fourth floor is still accessible for anyone who needs to use the elevator, but there may be delays, depending on the status of construction.

Watch for signs near the elevators about which car to use to get to your destination. Have questions about accessibility? Please contact Director of Facilities and Planning Rob Fritz.

April 2019 Update

Energy service company (ESCO) is moving ahead at the Beckman Institute. The mechanical contractor is expected to be at Beckman during the first week of May. Materials are being delivered and scaffolding is being set up for new exhaust duct being installed from the basement to the fourth floor. The Visualization Laboratory will be moving to the “hot desking” area in the 5200 block by mid-May. The fourth floor elevator landing area will be a construction zone starting in late May and throughout June. The Vis Lab is expected to return to its original space later this summer. Lab construction has been delayed and is expected to start late summer or fall semester.

Infrastructure construction will last between April 2019 and August 2020. An expected timeline:

  • Week of April 22: Lift and materials delivered
  • Week of April 29: Scaffolding arrives; will be installed in elevator chase from basement to fifth floor
  • May 2019: Begin work on new ducts run from basement to fourth floor
  • May 15, 2019: Visualization Lab moves to 5200 block, the hot desk area
  • Mid-May 2019: Remove ceiling near fourth floor elevators, Vis Lab Space
  • June 2019: Install new ducts throughout fourth floor; new wall to separate walkway to attic and Vis Lab, Vis Lab drop ceiling reinstalled
  • Late July 2019: Vis Lab returns to original space
  • October 2019 through August 2020: Lab HVAC construction continues

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Representatives of Schneider Electric presented details of the project at a meeting at Beckman on Nov. 13, 2018. If you were unable to attend, members of the Beckman community may access a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation, or view a video of the presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is an ESCO?

ESCO stands for an energy service company. Usually these companies finance utility upgrades with the long-term energy savings the project is expected to generate. The savings are guaranteed by the energy company.

What is Energy Performance Contracting (EPC)?

An EPC is the contract between the energy consumer and the ESCO. It involves a specific project and the company provides a performance guarantee to deliver a specific amount of long-term utility savings. The risk is transferred to the ESCO and the savings are used to pay project costs.

How many ESCO projects have been completed on campus?

Four ESCO projects have been completed on the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus since the RFP phase of Project No. 1 began in 2009. The completed projects include: College of Veterinary Medicine, Oak Street chiller plant, College of Engineering (five buildings), and Abbott Power Plant.

Have the completed projects been considered successful?

Yes. The annual dollar reduction has been about $5 million, with to-date savings at around $18 million. In addition, the projects have reduced a backlog of deferred maintenance by about $40 million.

Which facilities are part of the next project phase, Project 5?

The next phase will upgrade laboratory facilities, including the Beckman Institute, Chemical and Life Sciences Lab, Forbes Natural History Building, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Natural Resources Studies Annex, and Roger Adams Lab.

Can you tell me more about the company that will complete the work?

Schneider Electric is a global specialist in energy management. It has completed $423 million in ESCO projects for higher education clients, including Penn State and Purdue. They have more than $400 million in guaranteed savings in their portfolio, with more than $167 million in savings achieved to date.

What kind of savings will Beckman achieve?

It is projected that the Beckman Institute alone will achieve $500,000 in annual savings, by achieving a 32.1 percent energy use reduction. It also will benefit from the reduction of $5 million in deferred maintenance backlog. The cost of the operation is about $4.74 per square foot.

How much will the project cost and who is paying for it?

The several million dollars to fund the ESCO upgrades to Beckman Institute come from various campus sources. The campus recovers these funds in energy savings over 10-20 years.

When will the project take place and how will it disrupt operations at Beckman?

The project is estimated to begin in April 2019. Schneider plans to communicate plans three months ahead, so units can be prepared for any displacement that may occur. Most of the work will be in wet labs and they plan to target six to eight labs at a time, if possible, with the project taking four to five weeks in each lab (including moving chemicals and furniture, installing protective measures for sensitive equipment, and moving back in). In order to reduce disruption, some labs may share space during installation. Electrical and mechanical shutdowns will be coordinated with each unit.

What specifically will be done at Beckman?

Plans for the labs (with or adjacent to labs with chemical fume hoods) include new controls on equipment, expanded exhaust systems, variable air volume (VAV) conversion of pneumatic lab spaces with lab grade air valves (improved pressurization, temperature, and humidity control), VAV conversion of fume exhaust system with new duct to basement (provides improved flexibility for expansion), heat recovery chiller plant for reheat hot water, occupancy sensors will be installed in tower rooms, auditorium and large conference rooms for better HVAC control, and LED lighting will be installed in the atrium.

How will we know what the status of the project is?

Schneider Electric will have a website for project updates. As soon as it is set up, we will post a link to it on this page. Your lab will be contacted directly in advance of the scheduled work in your area. Also watch Beckman’s social media accounts for photos of ongoing projects.

All questions and concerns should be sent to the Beckman Facilities team: operations@beckman.illinois.edu