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GBMC Boiler Upgrade Required Careful Planning

By Steve Schuster, Associate Editor August 2012 - Energy Efficiency

Among the largest challenges for Butler and the project management firm was planning and executing the construction in an area of the facility that had very limited access.

"All material had to be craned in by a tower crane, erected specifically for this project," says D. Sean Mc- Cone with Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson. "The boilers were lifted in over Memorial Day weekend (2009) by a 650-ton crane that was delivered and erected on Friday, performed the lift on Saturday, and was disassembled on Sunday and removed."

The firm managed the design and permitting process and hired the general contractor. During construction, the firm inspected the work, managed the contractor. It also performed constructability reviews and executed the pre-bid meetings and contract awards.

The project required Butler to commit a great deal of in-house resources.

"I think the biggest challenge overall was the necessary commitment of man hours and resources to support the document reviews, startup testing and commissioning, and just getting this new plant up online," Butler says.

GBMC's boiler-replacement project, which required approval from the Maryland Department of the Environment for stack-emissions compliance, addressed these and other environmental concerns from the start.

"We began a series of plans that included alternative site locations, which were eventually presented to upper management," he says. "We also looked at the environmental impacts, such as noise, stack emissions, and sight lines." Butler and his team also were aware of the impact of the boiler's past and future operations on the neighborhood.

"We didn't want to put this up on a hill because we didn't want to be a nuisance to our neighbors with bright lights and all-too-visible stack emissions," Butler says.

The improvement has been visible.

"The biggest noticeable difference is between the clean smoke coming out of the stacks and the (previously) black (smoke), which has to do with combustion efficiency," he says.





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