James B. Hunt Jr. Library | Radiant Ceiling Panels

Project: James B. Hunt Jr. Library

Location: Raleigh, NC

Architect: Clark Nexsen/Snøhetta

Products: METALWORKS AIRTITE Radiant Ceiling Systems

The Challenge:

In order for Millikan Hall to achieve Pomona College’s first LEED® Platinum certification, it had to meet ambitious sustainability and user-comfort goals during its rebuild. For the sustainable design, the College turned to the building’s stakeholders, which included faculty, students, and staff from math, physics, and astronomy departments.

The Solution:

Over 20,000 square feet of radiant ceiling panels serve the heating and cooling comfort in 60% of the building (45,000 SF) containing offices and classrooms. The team selected METALWORKS AIRTITE radiant ceiling panels to integrate with other ceiling design, lighting, and acoustical systems. For the higher load portion of the building (40%) with labs and machine shop, the team chose to apply active chilled beams for cooling with heating from a coil on the airside Variable Air Volume (VAV) box.

When compared to other mixed-use lab and office buildings with nearly equal ratios of these uses, and in similar climate zones, the Millikan Hall is using 75% less energy. Further, the building achieved significant savings (68%) compared to its pre-retrofit levels. Through a range of factors, including the selection of a radiant system for heating and cooling the office portion, Millikan Hall energy use is very low for its type and design.

“The radiant system was vastly more energy efficient than an ‘allair’ solution. With the potential to drastically reduce ‘complaint calls’ due to thermal comfort issues during all seasons, and reduce energy costs, the radiant system became a win-win,” said Nate Eppley, Integral Group.

The Challenge:

Considered one of the most spectacular libraries in the world, the award-winning Hunt Library unifies architecture and technology creating a vibrant research destination for students, faculty, and partners. The four-floor, 230,000-square-foot facility with its large 40-foot windows required an efficient heating and cooling solution.


The Solution:

A METALWORKS AIRTITE radiant ceiling system was installed offering a sustainable heating and cooling solution with minimal air ventilation by using direct energy transfer from room surfaces using extruded and modular-type panels. Hot or cold water circulates through concealed copper tubing on the back of the panels – in this case a total of 32,000 linear feet of panel tubing.

The 2,851 linear feet of perimeter radiant panels and 1,660 radiant torsion spring cooling panels, working in conjunction with chilled beams, dramatically minimized heat and cold loss. The system contributed to saving more than 31 percent of the energy of an all-air system and also helped the facility earn LEED® Silver certification.

The 80,000-square-foot torsion spring system makes up a monolithic ceiling, including 13,280 square feet of active radiant panels, with no aesthetic difference between the active and non-active panels. Custom micro-perforations on the torsion spring panels and custom perimeter extrusion profiles helped achieve the needed acoustical rating and still maintain a consistent visual.

Sustainability in this project was key. 100% recycled cotton denim was used for insulation and >90% recycled aluminum content for all ceiling panels.

“The University is very pleased with the HVAC performance on the project, especially having gone through a cold, wet winter and a hot, humid summer,” said JJ Kirlin Carolinas Vice President, Ralph Stingo.