Architectural Mechanical Engineers specialize in the design of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, refrigeration (HVAC-R) plumbing, fire protection, and noise reduction for buildings. They are also intimately concerned with the optimal integration of such systems with the architectural, structural and electrical design. Architectural Mechanical Engineers use modern analytical and numerical techniques to predict thermal behavior and to assess operational characteristics of mechanical systems to optimize (minimize) total energy consumption based space use requirements. The analysis and design are grounded in fundamental principles of thermal and fluid sciences, which form an essential component of the engineer's education.
Architectural Engineering faculty in the mechanical option at UW conduct research in the areas of HVAC-R, geothermal heat exchangers, thermal energy storage, evaporative cooling, building thermodynamics, thermal systems modeling and simulation, and energy analysis and management. The laboratories include facilities to test thermal energy storage and response characteristics of the ground via geothermal heat exchangers and a HVAC testing and system demonstration facility that is developed around an all-air HVAC unit with variable frequency fan drives, in-duct heat exchangers, variable air volume components and a heat recovery.
The mechanical option prepares the Architectural Mechanical Engineer to design, analyze, detail and specify the components of a building mechanical system. The curriculum is founded upon a strong engineering science background of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer along with courses in analysis and design of air and hydronic systems, which ultimately develop competency in HVAC-R design. The Architectural Mechanical Engineer also understands, appreciates and enhances concepts that Architects, and Structural and Electrical Architectural Engineers use to make a building aesthetically pleasing and functional.