James B. Hunt Jr. Library

New construction; James B. Hunt Jr. Library; Affiliated Engineers Inc.


The bookBot robotic book delivery system. Courtesy: Mark Herboth Photography LLCEngineering firm: Affiliated Engineers Inc.
2013 MEP Giants rank:
James B. Hunt Jr. Library
Raleigh, N.C., United States
Building type:
School (college, university)
Project type:
New construction
Engineering services:
Electrical/Power, Fire & Life Safety, HVAC, Lighting
Project timeline:
September 2008 to January 2013 
Engineering services budget:
$17.6 million
MEP budget: $17.6 million


The A/E team for the 253,000-sq-ft James B. Hunt Jr. Library was tasked with Building Exterior (North & West Façades). Courtesy: Mark Herboth Photography LLCdesigning an iconic facility that would serve as a signature structure for North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus. The building had to be flexible and modern to meet the 21st century's new learning paradigms. At the same time, the building was required to meet the state's stringent new energy efficiency law requiring it to exceed the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 requirements by at least 30%. As part of the facility's design, the owner and architects wanted to connect the building to the environment by providing extensive glass on all façades. AEI was challenged to allow these striking views while minimizing the load to the HVAC system. AEI also faced the challenge of designing MEP systems that support one of the most technologically sophisticated learning spaces in the world, including a bookBot robotic book delivery system and five giant high-definition display walls. The library's Teaching & Visualization Lab and Creativity Lab include large projectors and Dual Heat Recovery Dedicated Outside Air Unit (DOAS). Courtesy: Jerry Blow Architectural Photographyservers with high power requirements, producing a tremendous amount of heat load. The final challenge was a total project budget reduction of $10.7 million during the design development phase.


To provide sustainable design solutions within the library, AEI integrated the MEP design with the following systems:

  • Dedicated Outside Air System (DOAS) with active chilled beams and both cooling and heating radiant panels.
  • A dedicated air handler for the auditorium, allowing a separate operation and shut down schedule. Demand control ventilation strategies reduce outside airflow.
  • Hydronic Systems. Courtesy: Jerry Blow Architectural PhotographyLighting controls based on occupancy and daylighting.
  • Solar domestic hot water.
  • Reduced potable water using low-flow restroom fixtures.
  • Zone level airflow reduction based on occupancy.
  • Centralized air monitoring system

To address the load issues presented by the glass façade, AEI worked with the architects to extensively model the building using daylighting analysis and TRACE energy simulation. The final design includes a combination of vertical and horizontal external shading and fritted glass. AEI's lighting group, Pivotal, designed and implemented the daylight-centered architectural lighting strategies. AEI met with NC State's maintenance staff throughout the project to assure their understanding and Quiet Reading Room. Courtesy: Mark Herboth Photography LLCapproval of these new systems, especially the active chilled beams and radiant panels. This included site visits to other higher education institutions that had already adopted these technologies, as well as a manufacturer's test facility. AEI also provided CFD Modeling of congregation spaces to demonstrate the quick recovery times of the chilled radiant ceiling system to bring the room back to setpoint when going from unoccupied to occupied. AEI's MEP systems resulted in total energy savings of 31% over ASHRAE 90.1-2004 requirements.

The project was completed on-time and under budget despite these challenges. The project has been awarded LEED Silver certification. Upon completion, Susan K. Nutter, Vice Provost and Director of NCSU Libraries, said, "I am awestruck by your work...and the students are over the moon. We worked so hard on the building and to see that you did also fills me with joy. I am forever grateful."

Sky Lounge at Dusk. Courtesy: Mark Herboth Photography LLCYellow Illuminated Stairs. Courtesy: Mark Herboth Photography LLCVertical Fins on East Façade. Courtesy: Mark Herboth Photography LLC

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