Cornell University – Olin Library Renovation

Erdman Anthony provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design services for the proposed $32 million renovation to Olin Library, a 112,000 sq ft library at Cornell University. Renovated systems include HVAC, plumbing, fire protection, power distribution, lighting, stand-by power and emergency systems, and associated instrumentation and controls.

The HVAC system was designed for precise temperature and humidity control and utilized active chilled beams supplied with lake-source chilled water and hot water perimeter radiation. The cascade control sequences would assure tight temperature and humidity control. Building ventilation is being handled by multiple outdoor and re-circulating air handling units. This sequence provides for optimum temperature and humidity control while reducing energy consumption.

The building fire protection system consists of standpipes in each stair tower and sprinklers throughout each floor. With low floor to floor heights and large floor to ceiling book stacks, the exposed piping needed to be integrated among all of the other architectural fixtures and MEP systems, this was accomplished using laser scanning and BIM.

The electrical system in the building would be upgraded from 208V to 480V distribution. A new unitary substation will be provided to support this upgrade. New, small feeders will be run to new panels on each floor and motor control centers in the mechanical spaces. An existing emergency generator will be utilized for life safety systems including a new fire pump, a new fire alarm system was included as part of the renovations.

With a projected energy cost savings of 34%, throughout the design cycle, our in-house team of energy engineers provided numerous building energy simulations using DOE 2 based software, to help optimize the MEP systems, as well as the building envelope/shell. The as-designed building utilizes 27% less energy than a minimally compliant building designed to meet ASHRAE 90.1-2004 standard. Through these iterative analyses, Erdman Anthony was able to show that the library building would meet operational needs while simultaneously meeting Cornell's high standard of energy-efficiency.

Project Details


Ithaca, NY


Cornell University

Construction Cost


Project Contact

Bruce Wallmann, PE
  • Bruce Wallmann, PE
  • 585-427-8888 x 1060
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