Facilities Information

The following information provides The Graduate Center community with more detailed information regarding The Graduate Center and Advanced Science Research Center's buildings and how our facilities will meet recommended requirements. 

The Graduate Center's HVAC system uses specified 4" MERV 14 box filters, surpassing the minimum MERV 13 recommendation made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The system's 2" MERV 8 pre-filters offer even more filtration. It should be noted that filter choice depends on the capability of the HVAC system and increasing filter efficiency can lead to increased pressure drop resulting in reduced airflow through the system. Outside fresh air is regularly exchanged at varying rates, depending on the size of the individual room. In a typical GC office space of 12' X 10' x 10' the fresh air supply varies from 150 to 300 cfm (cubic feet per minute). At 150 cfm it takes 8 minutes for a complete full air exchange and there are 7.5 air exchanges per hour. At 300 cfm it takes 4 minutes for a complete full air exchange and there are 15 air exchanges per hour.
 
​The Dormitory Authority State of New York (DASNY) is completing a $2 million upgrade to the existing cooling towers (HVAC system) at the Graduate Center. The functioning and efficacy of the HVAC system ("maintenance checks") is checked hourly by the automated building management system as well as regular physical checks by Facilities Services personnel. 

What percentage of air in the HVAC system is outside air?

GC: Running 100% (maximum) outside air. Outside fresh air is regularly exchanged at varying rates, depending on the size of the individual room.

ASRC: Lab space is 100% outside air. Office space is designed for a minimum of 30% outside air.

How many air changes per hour (ACH) is the system set for?

GC: Every space has a different setting based on size, original design and building code. In a typical GC office space of 12' X 10' x 10' the fresh air supply varies from 150 to 300 cfm (cubic feet per minute). At 150 cfm it takes 8 minutes for a complete full air exchange and there are 7.5 air exchanges per hour. At 300 cfm it takes 4 minutes for a complete full air exchange and there are 15 air exchanges per hour.

ASRC: Every space has a different setting based on size, original design and building code. (Generally, the air exchange rate is high because of the need to balance heat load for equipment or address other specific needs of the research space.)

What MERV level is the HVAC system?

GC: Filters are 4" MERV 14 box filters, surpassing the minimum MERV 13 recommendation made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The systems 2" MERV 8 pre-filters offer even more filtration.

ASRC: Air handlers have pre-filters and final filters. Final filters are typically MERV 15, pre-filters are MERV 8.

Is the HVAC running 24 hours per day? How long before the building is occupied in the morning is it turned on?

GC: Under a significantly reduced occupancy, HVAC currently runs from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. The system starts at 6:00 am, 2 hours before the scheduled 8:00 am opening.

ASRC: 24 hours.

How often is the functioning of the HVAC system checked?

GC:​ HVAC is checked via BMS hourly.

ASRC:​ Systems are under 24 hour monitoring in the control room. Multiple rounds are conducted each day in the mechanical rooms.

What is the relative humidity in interior areas? How is humidity adjusted if it's higher than optimal?

GC:​ The relative humidity is within generally between 40-60%, the optimal level for our respiratory immune system. The relative humidity increases above setpoint it is controlled, adjusted, by the systems cooling valve.

ASRC:​ The relative humidity is within generally between 40-60%, the optimal level for our respiratory immune system. The temperature of raw air is manipulated when it enters the air handler to drive out moisture. It is further tempered upstream to meet zone temperature setpoints.