Responsible comfort and LEED® Platinum certification at historic Friends Center
The Friends Center is a campus of three buildings in central Philadelphia, owned and operated by The Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers. The complex includes the historic Race Street Meetinghouse. Faced with the need to renovate the heating and cooling plant, the Friends decided to take this opportunity to eliminate their reliance on fossil fuels and secure the future comfort of worshippers, office inhabitants, and the children and staff of the onsite daycare center using 100 percent renewable energy. Environmental integrity, responsible use of resources and the goal of carbon neutrality were driving forces in the Friends’ decision-making process. In addition, their design solution had to take into account the campus’s location in center-city Philadelphia.
The centerpiece of the $12.5 million Friends Center renovation is a Carrier geothermal exchange system designed to eliminate the property’s reliance on fossil fuels for heating and cooling. Using deep wells installed directly below the Friends Center campus, the new system — which includes Carrier geothermal heat pumps, air handlers, air terminals, fan coil units, hot water coils and digital controls — enabled the Friends to use geothermal technology despite their metropolitan location, in which the extensive surface water-loop of a typical geothermal system would have been impossible. In addition, the i-Vu® open protocol web-based building automation system was specified, enabling Friends Center staff to monitor and control every aspect of the geothermal system as well as other building functions. This forward-looking solution helped the Center attain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® Platinum certification.