DePaul Theatre School Rendering

TMI Climate Solutions Provides a Higher Level of Comfort to the DePaul Theatre School

Today’s blog post is a case study from one of our custom air-handling unit manufacturers, TMI Climate Solutions. The case study provides a detailed summary of how TMI worked with DePaul University to outfit their Theatre School with a reliable custom air-handling unit (AHU) to service the Theatre. Not only was the AHU designed to meet LEED Silver specifications, it was also customized to produce as little noise as possible, and met the snow and wind load requirements needed for rooftops in Chicago.


Case Study: Depaul Theatre School, Chicago, Illinois

DePaul University’s “Many Dreams. One Mission” campaign, included a new theater school for its students. The University wanted their new theater facilities to widen artistic horizons, add vitality to the community, and welcome generations of new artists, performers, and audiences. To accomplish this vision, the theater worked with the world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, Senior Principal at Pelli Clarke Pelli and the former dean of Yale University School of Architecture.

LEED Silver Logo

DePaul’s new construction was targeted LEED Silver Certification and focused on creating positive impacts by increasing energy efficiency, reducing the carbon footprint, and mitigating resource depletion, such as water usage, among many others benefits. The $72 Million project included a 165,000 sq. ft. theater school building, featuring a 250 seat thrust Shakespearean style theater, a 100 seat blackbox theater, a rehearsal room for all theaters, design studios and labs, elevators, computer labs, box office, faculty and staff offices, school script library, and even lockers and bathrooms.


Inside the Theatre

Inside the 100-seat Blackbox Theatre.


The massive white facade protrudes out above the street allowing many of the inner workings to be visible to pedestrians. While pedestrians may have clear views into “behind the scenes” workings that make every theatrical performance tick, what the neighborhood and students won’t hear is the 140,000 CFM TMI Climate Solutions air handling equipment on the roof. Noise pollution is a common problem in poor urban planning, and the threat of noise pollution could undermine the creative planning taken to design a visually stunning new construction in the heart of a campus environment. The goal was to maintain the quality of life with student/residential housing nearby, and also mitigate any potential interference to the acoustics when actual performances were taking place, so sound attenuation was a very important issue.


Outside Theatre View

Street view of the Theatre.


TMIs’s unit incorporated both return inlet sound attenuators and supply air outlet attenuators. Also, TMI’s Fan Array™ format provides quiet and energy-efficient fans in a sound attenuated module. In addition to sound attenuation in the enclosure, to ensure the piping and equipment didn’t cause noise, piping was hung from the ceiling with spring isolators and equipment was mounted to inertia bases on the floor.


Fan array chart

The sound from Fan Array™ and boiler has been summarized. The accumulated sound from Fan Array™ superseded the sound from boiler and pumps. No effect from the boiler and pumps. AP indicates the casing across the supply plenum.


Efficiency was enhanced by utilizing a VFD controlled Fan Array™ module, containing premium efficiency motors that allow for the ramping up and down of CFMs. The unit also includes an integrated closed loop boiler system that provides hot water to the dual purpose coils, and a special mixing section was incorporated to better blend return air with outside air.


Fan array

Fan Array™


Chicago deservedly is nicknamed, “The Windy City”, and the TMI Climate Solutions’ air handling unit would be set on the top of the five-story building. Wind and snow were a question as to how the unit would perform. TMI solicited a structural engineer to calculate the snow and wind loads, distribution loads to the building structural steel/curbs and recommendations for intermediate supports under penthouse.


Penthouse supports

Intermediate penthouse supports.


Naturally, building aesthetics were of major importance. Therefore, TMI Climate Solutions worked hand-in-hand with the development team to provide custom siding on our air handling unit, blending the 3 visible sides of the unit with the building exterior by using the same Eclad exterior stone cladding system as was utilized on the building. This siding provides a fully sealed system with high-performance thermal breaks and insulation. The result is an aesthetically pleasing grand appearance, with the energy efficient performance and environmental benefits desired by the University and Its development team.


About TMI Climate Solutions

HVAC manufacturer in Michigan

TMI Climate Solutions provides custom HVAC solutions, ranging from the rigorous extremes of a government research facility to the health concerns surrounding the indoor air quality in hospitals. TMI is committed to manufacturing and delivering the best custom manufactured solutions available today for worldwide applications. All divisions of TMI Climate Solutions provide a higher level of comfort backed by the Berkshire-Hathaway name.

TMI’s new 200,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Pointe-Claire, Quebec allows TMI to increase its global manufacturing and export capacity. Our new Montréal facility not only reinforces TMI‘s leadership in custom-engineered HVAC systems, but it also sets the stage for enhancing the product offering with a wider variety of air handling units.

With this new manufacturing facility and the production capability of TMI’s plant in Michigan, customers will now have greater access to custom engineering expertise, faster order processing, and unparalleled delivery times for a range of HVAC Solutions.

The heart of every unit begins with design. Customization is an integral component of our design team. TMI employs a full mechanical engineering department that is responsible for the design of each unit manufactured. Our electrical engineering department has extensive experience in all aspects of electrical systems ranging from complete temperature controls systems and motor control packages to complex power distribution. Every project is custom engineered to meet specification.

To learn more about TMI Climate Solutions and how we can provide you with their custom air-handling units feel free to visit our website, call us 860.291.8886, or email us! Don’t forget you can always stay up-to-date on the latest product news and industry happenings by following us on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube!

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