Solving the Jigsaw

Lincoln Public Schools
Lincoln, MA

We have been actively working with the community in Lincoln, MA, to modernize a historic K-8 education facility designed in the 1940s. Currently in CD, the project scope includes designing a renovation and an addition for the school while maintaining its beloved character and qualities.

The project has posed an interesting set of challenges for our team. From the offset, it required significant coordination and collaboration between our engineers, architects, interior designers, and our partner Ewing Cole as they combine strategy with design to achieve community objectives. Our mechanical engineers were tasked with designing an integrated HVAC system that works for both the existing space and the addition: an otherwise ordinary task for our integrated firm made complicated by limited ceiling height, new and existing steelwork, acoustical requirements, plumbing, and electrical needs, as well as Net Zero targeting and historic preservation goals.

To develop a system that works with the architectural vision and meets the specific needs of a multi-use early education facility, it was paramount that the systems were created with flexibility in mind. Designing for this type of versatility requires the engineers to select, design, and implement equipment quickly so that other members of the design team can start to use it. Our engineers opted to use a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) to make efficient use of the limited ceiling height by eliminating ductwork, while benefitting from its reduced size which allows the duct system to more easily thread through the building. Additionally, it helps to achieve greater energy efficiency through a heat pump system that allows for the regeneration of heating and cooling throughout the building. Ultimately, these engineering systems are critical to the collaborative effort that goes into solving such a puzzle.


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