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UC San Francisco Research & Academic Building at ZSFG

San Francisco, California

The UCSF Research and Academic Building is a 5-story 159,000 square foot office and laboratory building located at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. The laboratory program consists of a vivarium, BSL2* lab, and BSL3 lab among other general lab services. The vivarium and BSL3 labs are each served by dedicated 100% outdoor air rooftop air handlers and exhaust fans. All other laboratory and office spaces are served by variable volume terminal units with reheat coils served by a custom, built-up, air handler with fan arrays and laboratory exhaust fans. The centralized design enables reductions in heating and cooling energy by reusing office return air to meet lab air change requirements as well as fan energy by reducing the supply air pressure drop when the office areas are unoccupied.

The chilled water plant consists of an air-source heat pump chiller piped upstream to two series variable speed screw air-cooled chillers. The heat pump chiller recovers the heat from 24x7 laboratory and IT process cooling loads to supplement the heating hot water supplied by the condensing boiler plant.

Life-cycle cost assessments were conducted to inform the owner of the paybacks associated with HVAC system design alternatives. Options included an all-electric design, 4-pipe variable volume terminal units, optimum distribution system sizing, and automatic sash closers among others. Alternatives were selected to meet UCOP energy efficiency targets.

Size (ft²)




Project Type

Office/ Laboratory

Scope of Work

Full design of mechanical and BAS systems




University of California San Francisco


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP


The Boldt Company (GC)
Control Air (MC)


Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP


MC: Andrew Ostrowski

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