Engineering Project Case Studies | Erdman Anthony

Emergency Generator Replacement and Sprinkler System Modification

Cornell University selected Erdman Anthony to design and replace an emergency generator and interconnect the sprinkler system in Warren Hall with the system in Mann Library, if possible. Cornell required that the chosen design professional be well versed in New York State Building Code, New York State Fire Code, the National Electrical Code, and the review of flow tests, as well as have a familiarity with site electrical distribution and sprinkler design. As a result, our team needed to document and detail code path analyses properly for the entire project to get approval from all parties during the design phases, including New York State University Construction Fund, Cornell’s fire marshal, Cornell’s facilities engineers, and Factory Mutual.

The 400-kW diesel emergency generator in Mann Library was at the end of its useful life and needed to be replaced. The new generator system was to be designed to support the emergency, standby, and fire pump loads in the library which also serves existing loads in Fernow Hall, and Warren Hall, along with the addition of similar loads at Bradfield Hall which serves loads in Emerson Hall, and the to-be-renovated School of Integrative Plant Science. Generator load calculations were performed to determine the size of the generators required to serve all the buildings. It was determined that the new emergency generator system needed to have a capacity of 1,600 kW, so parallel 800-kW diesel generators were selected. 

With the size of the generators determined, the new system’s exterior location was coordinated with Cornell’s engineers and architects to determine where it would best serve the multiple buildings while also preserving aesthetics.  

Site coordination was required with existing underground steam, chilled water, gas, electric, telecom, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer utilities to provide underground feeders from the new generator system to Mann Library, Bradfield Hall, and the School of Integrative Plant Science. 

The project included removing the diesel fire pump at Warren Hall and reconfiguring the sprinkler system in order to serve Warren Hall from the existing electric fire pump at Mann Library. Standpipe and riser flow tests were required so that Erdman Anthony could complete the hydraulic calculations for Warren Hall and Mann Library to determine the available water flow and pressure – and then confirm that the Warren Hall pump could be removed.  

Robert Marshall, PE, WELL AP
Robert Marshall, PE, WELL AP
 (585) 427-8888 x 1045