University of Connecticut
Supplemental Utility Plant
The University of Connecticut’s new Supplemental Utility Plant (SUP) is located in the Northwest Science District. It was developed as part of the NextGen Development Commissioning Program to improve UCONN’s electrical distribution system. Richard Turlington Architects was onsite weekly for the duration of the project, taking a hands-on approach to direct the 12+ teams collaborating on the plant.
Specifically, the new plant enables the university’s Next Generation CT Science Program, including heating and cooling for the Gant Science Complex renovation and STEM Research Center. The project included:
2 steam chillers & 2 electric chillers
Upgraded electrical utility connection to re-establish the original university operating requirements for electrical power distribution
2 emergency generators to support emergency power demands
Space allocation and provisions for 1 steam boiler to replace 4 aging boilers at the Central Utility Plant
Construction of the utility plant included a new electrical substation connecting to the existing utilities located in a major right-of-way bordering the plant's western side. Construction started with mass excavation in September 2020 and was LEED Gold Certified upon completion.
The plant was built concurrently with the adjacent Science 1 Building (designed by Payette Architects) and includes a major underground arterial tunnel connecting the new Supplemental Utility Plant to the UCONN Central Utility Plant several blocks away.
Visually, the building is steel framed with a dark gray phenolic rainscreen wall panel. The simple form is an unobtrusive complement to the sculptured landscape and a backdrop to the adjacent Science 1 Lab building. While the building approaches 40,000 sf, its occupancy is very small. The interior color palette incorporates a white exposed structure and polished concrete floors with brightly colored ductwork which denote the utility within. There are large gantries and a removable section of the second floor, designed to accommodate heavy load paths for replacing electrical switchgear in the future.
The UCONN Supplemental Utility Plant is unique in that it is the result of months of campus-wide energy studies, interdepartmental agency cooperation, and collaboration with the University Planning Design and Construction Department. The 30-month project finished just 3% above the base contract, and despite Covid-related setbacks, all parties pushed forward together without significant delays.
The Supplemental Utility Plant at UCONN is a notable campus accomplishment that will help the university continue serving Huskies for decades to come!