BUILDING AIR-HANDLING SYSTEMS ONSITE WITH A DEADLINE
Today’s post highlights a Flow Tech case study featuring our Air Enterprises SiteBilt™custom air-handling unit (AHU) line. SiteBilt™ is a type of AHU that is built and installed onsite to combat tight space restraints and quick time frames. Learn how Flow Tech and SiteBilt™ worked with this commercial building to meet their needs and deadlines.
The Challenge: REPLACING OUTDATED UNITS WITH LITTLE SPACE AND LESS TIME
Outside view of One Stamford Forum
One Stamford Forum is a 500,000 sq. ft. office building located in Stamford, CT. Aside from its distinct architecture, it is popular because it’s one of the best maintained multi-tenant buildings in Southern Connecticut. Bob Henry (since retired) is the Facility Engineering Manager responsible for maintaining the building’s life safety systems, keeping the building functioning and making sure the tenants are comfortable so their employees remain safe and efficient.
One of the old AHUs that needed to be replaced
The building was built in 1971 and still had the original 60,000 cfm air-handling units (AHUs). Much has changed in terms of energy efficiency and airflow standards since 1971 and about five years ago, Henry decided it was time to upgrade the AHUs. “The original units were constructed from galvanized sheet metal and had become impossible to maintain to our standards. We considered repairing them, but realized the units had out lived their useful life.” states Henry.
Original air-handling unit fan showing depredation caused by coil moisture carry-over.
Having prior experience with Air Enterprises, Henry called them to see if they could offer a better solution. They recommended he contact their regional representative, Joe Augeri at Flow Tech, Inc. (FT). Henry had previously worked with FT on ABB variable frequency drive maintenance and was impressed with their ability and professionalism. However, he had some concerns regarding the project’s logistics.
Only available space within the penthouse for assembly.
Although the building has a penthouse floor dedicated to housing the AHUs, there wasn’t enough room to remove the AHUs in their entirety and bring in new ones without opening multiple exterior walls. Also, because the building is a multi-tenant office building, shutting down HVAC systems for more than a weekend was out of the question. Flow Tech had to combat the time and space restraints or else Bob Henry would take his business elsewhere. “I was very confident they could get the job done in a weekend, otherwise they wouldn’t have been here” commented Henry.
The Solution: AIR ENTERPRISES SiteBilt™ AHU
One of the units needed to be crane lifted and brought in from the roof.
Flow Tech knew they could rise to the occasion and accepted the challenge and fully met the building owner’s expectations. The decision was made to supply SiteBilt™ air-handling units from Air Enterprises. SiteBilt™ AHUs are exactly as they sound, air-handling units constructed onsite. All components of the new air handling units (fan, motor, coils, panels, doors, floors and assembly hardware) are shipped to the site. The old unit is then demolished and removed, after which the new unit is built in its place.
One year temporary wall demolition was needed to meet the installation deadline.
With only having a weekend to complete each install, FT had to have a bullet-proof plan of execution. Every Presidents’ Day weekend since 2009 Flow Tech along with their installation crew and subcontractors removed one AHU and installed a new one. In this time frame, they had 42 hours to complete the project. By noon on Presidents ’ Day they had to be ready to power back up and demonstrate to the owner that the unit and it’s controls work properly.
The Results: NEW EFFICIENT AHUs AND HAPPY TENANTS
One of the shiny, new SiteBilt™ air-handling units.
Fortunately, Flow Tech and Bob Henry have had success with their SiteBilt™ installs over the years. Not only are the building’s new air-handling units more efficient, but as Henry likes to put it, “They’re operating as advertised – 40-year life. After 5 years you walk by the units and still think they’re new.” Another benefit of using SiteBilt™ is the customer has the undivided attention of Air Enterprises’ sales and engineering staff to address field issues as they arise.
Another new SiteBilt™ unit.
When asked to give some insight and advice for others making a similar decision Bob Henry had this to say, “You need to have the confidence that Flow Tech will make it happen, otherwise you’ll leave the old units and let them limp along.” He continues, “If you have to replace multiple units replace the easiest one first. You’ll learn a lot from the first one which can help you with others down the road.” Henry was impressed with Flow Tech, Inc. and as a result has been a loyal customer over the years, “Flow Tech brought very good subs to the table, and Joe remains in close contact with Air Enterprises beginning at the shop drawing stage and all the way through to start-up. They go above and beyond.”