Project Highlight: “The Helix”

“The Helix” a Hub for Innovation

The Helix was constructed to be a global hub of HVACR industry education with a focus on five industry markets: supermarket refrigeration, food service operations, smart homes, data center cooling, and light commercial buildings. To make this facility a real-world proving ground for solving HVACR challenges, five specialized research areas, also known as modules, were constructed under one roof.

Module 1 includes a fully functional, fully furnished two-story, three-bedroom home with running water and even an Xbox gaming system. Module 1 includes ambient temperature control to simulate seasons and climates. The model home allows Emerson to develop innovations in heating, air conditioning, and smart homes.

Module 2 is used to leverage the entire innovation center building for research innovations in heating, ventilation and cooling of commercial buildings, as well as developing new building automation systems to better control them.

Module 3 is a 1,000 SF data center space that will expand the ability of Emerson Network Power’s Thermal Management business to deliver more holistic, next generation approaches to controlling the data center environment and managing heat in the most effective way possible. Emerson’s engineers uses the space to develop intelligent and versatile cooling technologies and controls that improve energy efficiency, maximize free cooling and protect mission critical applications.

Module 4 has a fully operational 1,500 SF commercial kitchen. This module was designed to help solve challenges in the food service industry, including new refrigerants and food safety.

Module 5 is a 2,500 SF model supermarket, complete with refrigerated cases, dry goods shelving and integrated controls that include lighting and point of sale systems. The module was constructed to support research on supermarket refrigeration, including alternative refrigerants and controls.

These test modules were built to help educate, solve challenges, and advance HVAR technologies through research that is conducted at The Helix.

Unique Challenge

To build all testing areas in one building provided a unique challenge for the project team.  Each research area included systems and equipment that were being developed as the building was being built. Many modifications were needed along the way to make the new equipment and systems functional. The project team worked to incorporate all changes without affecting the overall schedule.


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