Flagstaff AZ (December 1, 2013) – The Coconino County Administration Building is not only a more comfortable place to do business, but also more energy efficient following a recent retrofit of its climate-control system.
“Fans ran all the time and were loud,” recalls county project coordinator Christina Flynn. “We had a hard time maintaining comfort.”
The three-story building originally was designed to have four floors, Flynn says, so the equipment wasn’t the proper size. For a solution, the county looked to engineering consultants from the Taylor RyMar Corporation which has a growing office in Flagstaff.
“We were very strategic in how we approached the project – to give them the biggest bang for their buck and a plan for the future,” says Mario Torregrossa, a mechanical engineer who is a principal owner of the firm.
Working within the county’s budget, a project team comprised of experts from the county, Taylor RyMar, equipment provider Climatec and contractor Prime Mechanical devised a plan to replace the single fans for each floor with “fan walls” – multiple smaller fans working together. The benefits of this approach include quieter operation, maintenance flexibility, built-in redundancy and increased energy efficiency.
In addition to the fan wall, the project also installed climate-control automation in parts of the administration building that had lacked it.
For Coconino County, the retrofit reduced the noise and cut the system’s power consumption 70 percent, verified by metering the power usage before and after the retrofit.
“With HVAC [heating, ventilation and air conditioning], it’s often about how you take existing equipment and make it run more efficiently,” Flynn says. “We realized we had the opportunity to do that with this fan retrofit process.”
Since the project completed in October, there are two fans each for the first and second floors, and three for the top floor.
“What made this project nice was that it was design-bid-build,” Flynn says, meaning that all aspects of the project were integrated. “The partnership was based upon the technology we selected, which is produced by Climatec. So the team came together based upon Climatec’s recommendation.”
Taylor RyMar oversaw the project team, coordinating among the members assuring anything that needed to be addressed was handled collaboratively.
“We worked together to provide a turn-key project,” Torregrossa says. “They turned to us and said, “˜Get it done.”