Senior Engineering Capstone

CU Boulder - Spring 2016


   Shaun Hackett
-  Building Systems Engineer
    Joe Keresey
- Construction Engineering Management
    Jesse Patzer-Coletta
- Lighting and Electrical Engineer
    Morgan Talmage
- Structural Engineer

Skills Being Built:

    ★★★★★  Discipline Coordination
    ★★★★★  Revit
    ★★★★★  Electrical Engineering
    ★★★★★  Lighting Design
    ★★★☆☆  Verbal Presentation

Quick Links:

As a continuation of the Architectural Design Capstone, I am now working with a new team of engineering consultants as the (fictional) AE Design firm, MJJS Consulting Engineers. MJJS has taken on The Explorer from WJNS Architects and is doing full scale systems design across the building. 

My role on the team is that of the Electrical Engineer and Lighting Designer. In this role I will complete a full-scale electrical system that serves the whole building's needs, as well as design lighting from back-of-house to main atrium, and all spaces in between.

In conjunction with the other consultants we are planning to make The Explorer LEED Platinum. To accomplish this, the electrical and lighting designs will need to be integrated, innovative, and efficient. 

    1. Overview of Design Challenges
    2. Conceptual Design
    3. Design Development


Electrical Design     
  • ChallengeLong conductor runs
    • Solution: Diversify panel locations and load types. Panel zoning is to be split such that the North and South sides of the building have separate panels to eliminate the need for many long runs.
  • ChallengeTransformer Locations
    • Solution: The transformer can be located just outside of the electrical room, however, we are working with campus facilities management to get the transformer to be located in the campus central transformer vault. This eliminates it from the site which is what WJNS Architects wanted. 
  • ChallengeHigh loads and LEED
    • Solution: CU Boulder requires LEED Gold+ on all new buildings. To accomplish this we need to watch loads and usage. Much of the work towards LEED Platinum comes from the Building Systems Engineer, Shaun Hackett. My contribution comes in reducing loads as well as looking at innovative technology to limit energy use. Specifically we are looking at using plug-load control to eliminate necessary plug-load drains during unoccupied hours. 

Lighting Design     
  • ChallengeDaylighting
    • Solution: The Explorer boasts 100% windows all around. To mitigate solar gain, and glare, the team has found a curtain wall system that gives an R-22 value as well as low transmittance to allow for greater control. To help offset heavy contrast of solar patches through the 20-foot windows, a fabric ceiling has been designed to allow for diffuse daylight to be transmitted into the space as well. The hope is to create a system that changes from day to night--from cool, to warm light. 
  • Challenge: Efficiency
    • Solution: Efficiency, and energy usage is very important to achieving LEED Platinum. As such, LED will be specified throughout to ensure that loads are as minimized as possible. LEDs will be used in applications from back-of-house to task lighting.


The conceptual design phase encompassed general concepts for both lighting and electrical design. The major aspects of my design can be seen below (quick links can be found on the side-bar, as well):

The main lighting design concept is based around perspective. The idea that the size, shape, and form of an object can be affected by light. The fabric ceiling below is used to create a building-glow at night when viewed from the ground. Concepts for the lobby design include a column of light which tapers as it goes up to create the illusion that it is much taller than it really it. Another concept is a 3-dimensional grid of LEDs; the spacing of which decreases as it goes up to create the same effect. A final concept is that of a long graze of the underside of The Explorer's cantilever which, when viewed at night will look infinite because light will not reach the end.  
click for full conceptual design boards


In the schematic and design development phases, the MJJS team worked on refining the designs from the conceptual phase. I specifically focused on the implementation of Revit for electrical and lighting circuiting, the use of AutoCAD to create a more in depth one-line diagram and electrical room layout, and using AGI32 to show calculations and create renders