University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah (U of U) Health Sciences Campus houses nearly 4 million square feet of critical patient care, laboratory and educational space. The U of U set out to transform the Health Sciences Campus by adding three new cutting-edge buildings that would add nearly 800,000 square feet of critical care and research space to the campus without straining existing campus heating and cooling capacity.

McKinstry was selected as U of U’s partner because of the unique approach we take to developing high-performing buildings and our willingness to stand behind our work by guaranteeing the outcome. The project, spanning across 20 buildings on the Health Sciences Campus, reduced the load on the existing buildings and recovered capacity of the East Central Chilled Water Plant (ECCWP) by eliminating wasteful and inefficient operations.

Since the new buildings are anticipated to serve the campus for many years to come, persistence of project performance and capacity recovery at the plant are of paramount importance. To ensure this happens, McKinstry developed Active Energy Management (AEM) and Transition to Sustainable Operations (TSO) strategies to help the U of U maintain and track the performance of their building systems. Through this program, McKinstry is integrating asset management, warranty management, training and preventive maintenance programs into the University’s operations.

Also included in these services is an AEM monitoring dashboard that tracks building assets and maintenance items—offering visibility (and thus effectiveness) to building operations staff. AEM data will also help the U of U identify and address potential operational issues at an early stage if key performance indicators are not being met.

Alternative Approaches Delivered Cost Effectively

Due to McKinstry’s total cost of ownership design process, general contracting experience that breaks up scopes of work and eliminates non-value-added markup, and tight budget controls, we were able to build the above-mentioned scopes of work for more than $9 million dollars less than what was budgeted in the utility master plan.


Salt Lake City, UT

Number of Buildings:


Square Footage:

4 million



Life Sciences

Services Provided:

Engineering and Design

Energy Services

Active Energy Management (AEM)

Transition to Sustainable Operations (TSO)


“Due to their extensive design/build experience and comprehensive understanding of the generation, distribution, and end use technologies in a complex hospital and research environment, McKinstry was able to achieve what seemed impossible; to design and construct a $30 million efficiency project in 20 buildings and complete the task prior to the completion of our new buildings.”

– Bob Simonton, Director of Design and Construction at the University of Utah