Living Building Challenge compliant HVAC & Plumbing design for Six PCC Markets throughout Western, WA. 

PCC Markets’ desire to design LBC compliant grocery stores containing minimal red-list materials while achieving energy efficiency goals of mechanical systems far exceeding industry standards has been achieved through due diligence and innovative engineering services provided by Harris Group.  

Form, function and beauty were all key design considerations in the LBC process, which will serve as a testament to the fact that PCC Markets are as concerned about the environment, locally sourced materials and the efficient operation of mechanical systems as they are about providing quality, locally grown produce and other products that contribute to a healthy lifestyle

How We Did It

PCC Markets achieved their intent to set themselves apart from any other health conscious markets in the world as these 6 new Market locations will be the first LBC compliant grocery stores certified by the ILFI in the world!  

Harris Group became experts in the LBC vetting process in pursuit of the materials petal certification.  Although, it was an arduous and highly technical vetting process, Harris Group rose to the challenge demonstrating fortitude and design creativity in putting forth innovative solutions to solve practical industry problems in achievement of unprecedented sustainability goals associated with the ILFI certification in its first ever application for grocery stores.  Harris Group forged strong relationships with manufacturers throughout the vetting process, which will serve our firm and clients well into the future as the world consensus continues to demand environmental conscientiousness and   operational efficiency in newly constructed buildings.  This experience in conjunction with our Commercial sectors’ talented staff and extensive engineering resume provides our clients with high confidence that our firm can deliver on unique and challenging projects.

Harris Group worked meticulously with the ILFI’s appointed Skanska reviewer to pre-vet all HVAC and Plumbing materials in conformance with LBC standards.  This effort involved multiple parties coordinating through shared Dropbox files where all correspondence and vetting documentation was tracked, stored and approved prior to release to the ILFI for final approval.

Harris Group became experts in the LBC vetting process in pursuit of the materials petal certification. 

Harris Group was the Engineer of Record for 6 new PCC Markets grocery stores under construction from 2019-2021.  

 Harris Group designed state-of-the art HVAC systems that work in tandem with the stores’ refrigeration systems utilizing water source heat pumps, which draw heating and cooling from a building condenser loop where waste heat of rejection from refrigeration equipment provides the first stage of heating for the stores.  The design included energy recovery systems on up to 30% of all building exhaust including kitchen exhaust from steamers and sculleries. Harris Group was thorough in documentation and vetting of all HVAC and plumbing materials compliant to Living Building Challenge Materials Petal Standards.  

Harris Group received accolades from the International Living Futures Institute (ILFI) the governing body responsible for reviewing LBC applications and awarding certifications for our work in selecting cooling towers, which contain less than 10% red-list materials just shy of 7% total PVC by weight.  Evapco, the manufacture of the cooling tower selected for 5 of the stores, provided flexibility in their options for construction to reduce the red-list items contained in the equipment components, which included changing from PVC to stainless steel for the fill, casing, fan panels, basin panels, fan cowl, and air inlet louver frames.  

The domestic hot water system incorporates a double wall heat exchanger that is mounted directly to the refrigeration system’s compressor rack.  This heat exchanger provides enough energy to provide all the hot water needed for the store.  This drastically reduces the need to run the backup tankless water heaters which run on natural gas.

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At the PCC Ballard location, no condenser loop was available to tie our Mechanical systems together with the refrigeration system (provided by others), where we have utilized the refrigeration heat of rejection to conserve heating energy in our HVAC equipment.  The work around for this scenario was to design and select a stainless-steel CO2 coil, which could accommodate the maximum heat of rejection produced by the CO2 refrigeration equipment.  The CO2 coil was installed inside our Seasons 4 air handler in addition to the standard heating and cooling coils mounted in the airstream to provide the first-stage of heating, which should accommodate all the heating needs of the store without additional energy inputs from our HVAC systems. Harris Group selected Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS) suitable for type II exhaust applications, which are code compliant and do not allow transfer of latent energy from the exhaust to supply air streams.

 Such DOAS systems have fixed plate/frame energy cores that only transfer sensible energy across air streams where all latent energy is condensed on the core and drained out of the unit as condensate and routed to approved drain receptors.  Where space limitations precluded the use of a packaged DOAS unit to serve type II exhaust applications, Harris Group designed built-up DOAS systems utilizing Captivaire inline fans and a Heat Pipe system to serve as the fixed plate/frame energy core.

 Enthalpy calculations were performed to prove that our built-up DOAS meets the code definition of DOAS without transfer of latent energy. Polypropylene pipe has been vetted per LBC standards and incorporated into our design to replace all PVC piping that would have typically been used for condensate drainage. Neoprene vibration isolation pads were replaced with LBC approved pads consisting of natural rubber and cork. Harris Group coordinated with manufacturers to specify sheet metal coil stock for galvanized ductwork, which did not involve a chromate conversion process used in its galvanization process.  Any galvanized ductwork manufactured with such a chromate conversion process creates toxic hexavalent chromium as a by-product of manufacturing that can leach into the waste stream when exposed to rain.  This LBC approved ductwork is G90 and ROHS compliant and represents a large portion of the overall HVAC materials to be installed at each store location.