The Infrastructure Group (TIG)

CSAIL Building On-going Projects


This document contains some information about major on-going projects around the building, as well as information about how some of the building systems work.

  1. Emergency Assistance Boxes
  2. Emergency Preparedness Materials
  3. Leaks
  4. Temperature
  5. Punch List
  6. Air Quality in Machine Rooms
  7. Power Quality Issues
  8. Building Water Flushing System

Emergency Assistance Boxes

10/14/04 There are two different boxes... the yellow boxes or emergency assistance stations located throughout the building and site do go directly to MIT Police. These are monitored 24 hours a day. The boxes located in the stairwells are not set up this way... yet. Currently these ring in the fire command station located next to the information desk on the Student Street. The problem with this set up is that if nobody is there to receive the call it continues to go unanswered - the point of these for your information is for someone in a wheelchair to have a secure place to wait for help in the event of an emergency. Since we realize that these may be used in a different way we are currently working on forwarding this phone signal to the TIG Facilities' operation center which is monitored 24 hours a day. To reset one of these boxes you must call 3-1500 and tell them what box needs resetting.

Emergency Preparedness Materials

Emergency Preparedness Materials, including floor evacuation maps and an explanation of the Stata Alarm system are available at


Spreadsheet of Stata Leaks (pdf format). Last updated 01-18-05.


update: 10-14-04 The HVAC contractor has reached a point where they are going to start balancing the air system in the building. They do this by opening up 2 floor tiles on each floor that is served by each air handler. These areas need to stay open for a couple of days while they monitor the air flow supplied by the air handler. They are going to start on AHU 3, which serves Gates 9, 8, 7 and 6 tomorrow morning.

They will cordon off floor openings with cones and caution tape to keep people from falling in (the locations vary from floor to floor).

Original Message There have been many complaints lately about office temperatures not being comfortable. I agree many of them are not comfortable and I'm working with MIT facility engineering and Skanska to understand the problem and implement a solution.

Below are some facts about the current settings and system in place. We will be rolling out a faq web page but for now here are some bits of info. This will not make your office more comfortable but at least now you will know why it's uncomfortable. If you have a temperature related problem please send mail to

Stata Offices, floors 2-9:

The design intent Stata Center is to achieve a range of temperatures in theoccupied zone which is centered at 75. A room set point range range of 74-76 allows some flexibility around that design condition to account for minorsensor inaccuracy.

The combination of slider position, and sensor inaccuracy will result in actual space temperatures that range between 72 and 78. Cooling is provided by the floor boxes and heating is provided by the window grille.

Some general observations:

  • the floor boxes should not be open when the heat is on the heat should always be off when the floor boxes are open
  • the little button on the thermostat does nothing
  • the floor box temperature should be a steady 64 degrees
  • internal office have no heating, the system depends on heat load from people and machines
  • even with the floor boxes fully closed we are measuring around 35cfm
  • some of the window heating systems have been making noise caused by excessive pressure or it's valve not sitting properly.

Cooling Mode:

If it is above 78 degrees in an an office and the heat is on or the cooling is not, then some component of the system is mis operating.

If the office is above 78 and the cooling is on full with no heat provided at the window, there is probably an overwhelming load (people + computers) in the space compared to the cooling being delivered by the floor boxes.

The next level of troubleshooting is to investigate static pressure and air temperature provided by the air plenum. It is possible that the appropriate amount and temperature of air is being supplied, but the load exceeds the capacity provided by the number of floor boxes provided in the design.

And yes, it can be that it's warm degrees outside and the heat is on in a few rooms. If the room temperature goes below the set point, (once the cooling box fully closes), the heating valve will modulate open to attempt to maintain the room temperature set point. Although this does occur in a some perimeter offices , the total amount of heat utilized is small because the summer heating water temperature is low.

Heating Mode:

If it is below 72 degrees in an an office and the cooling is on or the heat is not, then some component of the system is mis operating.

If the office is below 72 and the heat is on full with no cooling provided by the floor boxes, it is possible that an excessive amount of air is reaching the room or the supply air temperature is too low. The next level of troubleshooting is to investigate the temperature and air quantity provided by the underfloor plenum.

Punch List:

A list of active punch list items for Skanska. Punchlist Items (pdf format). Document Dated: 10-18-04.

Air Quality in Machine Rooms:

11/19/04 The original plan was to change filters quarterly in the machine rooms. Tom Ouellet of Filter Sales and Service came out to survey the particle size in the rooms and has suggested that we increase the filter efficiency from the standard MERV-7* pleat to a MERV-11. This increase is based on his finding of 3 micron and larger particulate. He speculated that particulate of this size is most likely due to left over construction material. The new filters have been installed this week, one month ahead of the normal schedule. We have requested that one filter from each ac unit be measured for particulate density. More information will be posted as we learn it.

*MERV = Minimun Efficiency Reporting Value, MERV 1 is the least efficient, and MERV 16 is the most efficient

Power Quality Issues:

11/19/04 There was a meeting scheduled for this week between TIG Facilities, Skanska and Ron Adams of MIT Facilities to discuss the quality of power in the building and to establish a plan for monitoring and collecting data about its state. This meeting was cancelled at the last minute. We do not yet know when the meeting will be held. We are trying to find a time for next before Thanksgiving. More information will be posted as we learn it.

Stata Center Water Flushing System:

The flushing water system provides water to flush toilets and urinals. At the most basic level, it consists of only three components:

  • Water storage tanks
  • Filtering system
  • Distribution pumps

Water Storage Tanks

In a conventional plumbing system, the city potable water would be piped directly into the distribution pumps; in this system we simply introduce a tank between the city supply and the pumps. This gives us a spot to introduce "gray water"; i.e. water that is recycled from other processes, or in this case "harvested" rainwater. The benefit is the conservation of city potable water. Future gray water sources may be developed from adjacent buildings through the interconnecting tunnel to 26.

There are two tanks, but there is only one tank with instrumentation. That is because the interconnection of tanks means that the levels should always be the same; therefore only one set of instruments.

Because the tanks are fed from the city and from the Rainwater systems, the water can not be considered potable; even if it never rains again. Therefore we have a separate water supply pipe (flushing water) going to the flushing fixtures; and a separate (potable) water supply pipe going to sinks, showers, drinking fountains and the like. All of the flushing water piping is marked with a distinctive purple signage system so that the two systems are never interconnected. The city water makeup line to this storage tank has a backflow preventer (an elegant check valve) installed to isolate and protect the drinking water system for the building from the non-potable water stored in the tank. We use the collection tanks to supply the water for toilets and urinals.

The tanks have the following major features; the interaction of these controls and devices is described more below under the Sequence of Operation: 3000 gallon FRP tanks with man-way and atmospheric vent 4 inch bottom outlet; 2 inch dip-tube fill 1 ? inch main drain 4 inch overflow (no intervention; but high alarm will sound first) Three level switches (LS 1003, 1004 and 1005)

Filtering System

Introducing rainwater to the tanks can introduce contaminants that need to be removed to protect the piping and fixtures; also, since city water is chlorinated, and the rain runoff is not, there is a need to reduce bio-growth.

The filtering system addresses these two concerns with:

  • Multimedia Filtration
  • Ultraviolet Sterilization

To recap at this point in the narrative: the rain has filtered down into the underground storage chamber. Some of the available rain is pumped from Bldg 57 over to Stata and it comes into the mechanical room and directly to the multimedia (MM) filter for cleaning. It passes through the filter and into the storage tank to mix with city water.

Multimedia filters are physical filtration tanks generally filled with a mix of sand and anthracite that remove particulates.

UV Sterilization The filtered water in the tanks is also cycled through a UV unit in a continuously pumped loop back through the filter to the tank. This non-contact sterilization keeps down the bio growth in the tanks.

Distribution Pumps

The third flushing water subsystem (1. is Tanks, 2. is Filters) is the distribution pumping system. The mix of city water and filtered rain water is sitting in the tanks; unfortunately, it is at atmospheric pressure, since we lost any city water pressure with an air gap to the tanks. Even if we had the added energy of the city water pressure, we would still need booster pumps to get to the high rise flushing fixtures.

There then are two sets of FW booster pumps: one low-rise, and one high-rise. These are identical in style and manufacture to the high-rise domestic booster that is part of the separate conventional plumbing system in the same room.

Both of these packaged Syncroflo pump sets operate without intervention, from simple pressure switches in the discharge header. Hydro-accumulator tanks on each skid provide a sort of "stored pressure" for low flow conditions to prevent too much cycling of the pumps.

The piping configuration downstream of these booster pumps is two separate 4 inch FW lines out to the building, one "high" at approximately 90 psi, (upper floors) and one "low" at approximately 62 psi (lower floors).
Topic revision: 10 Feb 2011, ArthurProkosch

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory


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