Facilities Casebook

Building Operating Management's Facilities Casebook


Mall turns to water loop heating to ease flexibility concerns

Designers for FlatIron Crossing mall in Broomfield, Colo., faced a common design constraint: Space in the mall would be in continuous flux, and any HVAC system needed to be adaptable to configuration changes in the mall’s 153 retail spaces.

Designers employed a water loop heat pump system with AERCO boilers for the mall because of its flexibility and its zone-specific climate control.

Low water temperatures are a requirement for water loop heat pump designs. The mall’s heat pumps operate within a loop temperature range of 55 to 95 degrees. Individual units will shut down if water temperature falls outside this range. The boilers condense without damaging the heat exchanger and can accept cool return water directly from the building loop, which means a simplified mechanical room. Non-condensing equipment would have required the expense of supplemental piping and mixing valves. The condensing action of the boilers increases system efficiency up to 12 percent, according to the manufacturer.

With conventional on/off boilers, supply temperature swings can cause individual heat pumps to shut down, requiring them to be reset manually.

Each boiler is designed with a 20 to 1 combustion turndown, which means the five-unit plant can vary output between 100,000 and 10 million Btu per hour. The temperature control ensures reliable operation of the heat pump network and offers part-load efficiency.

The design means that each retail space can have its own heat pump. Also, stores that grow in size can have extra heat pumps added to their spaces.



Alabama hospital chooses BACnet system to allow for growth

With an HVAC system that was expensive to maintain and overdue for an upgrade, officials at Marshall Medical Centers decided the prescription was a new building control system when the company began a renovation of its Boaz, Ala., regional medical center.

The challenge was finding a flexible system that could meet the building’s current needs and accommodate growth. In addition, the hospital houses a great deal of third-party equipment that had to be integrated into a single controls system.

“I spent a lot of time in my efforts to choose the correct engineering controls,” says Paul Cherico, director of plant operations for Marshall Medical Centers. “We needed open protocol controls that would meet our present and future needs, provide freedom of choice down the line, and offer affordable software upgrades, parts and service. The BACnet system was a good choice.”

The hospital installed Alerton building controls that upgraded the hospital’s HVAC system with scalable BACnet-based technology. The renovation project included a global controller, 150 variable air volume controllers, 10 air handling units, a chiller, 10 variable speed drives and a BACtalk workstation.

The hospital’s new controls system integrates with other manufacturers’ devices.

The new system integrated much of the hospital’s original equipment. This enabled the medical center to leverage its existing investment and avoid the costs of replacing all equipment.


New flooring keeps busy California hospital rolling

Fresno Surgery Center is one of the busiest hospitals in central California. The hospital also had a problem — heavy traffic was wearing thin the carpet in its main hallway.

The building’s mobile patient beds weighed up to 660 pounds unloaded. With 6,000 patients treated annually, the beds were taking their toll on the carpet — it was beginning to unglue and rip, making it even harder for nurses to maneuver the beds. Nurses complained that the high resistance was straining their backs.

Worn carpeting in the building’s main hallway affected nearly everyone. The main corridor is used to move patients from operating rooms to recovery rooms. The center’s first-floor corridor, which is the main thoroughfare for everyone in the building, sees all the major traffic.

When Cheryl Miller, director of clinical services and risk management, planned to refurbish the hallway, she sought an alternative to carpet that would make moving patients through the hallways easier.

Miller chose Stratica Green Oak and Rosewood, which was used in geometric patterns of elongated squares in the corridor that repeated the design intent of the wood entry floor in the lobby and reception desk area.

It has been two years since the renovation of the corridor, and the nurses say that the switch has helped alleviate their back pain. The new flooring system is also easier for the custodial staff to clean.


Carpet helps navigation, sets hospital apart from pack

Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Sky Ridge Medical Center is no average hospital.

Sky Ridge Medical Center has used its design and amenities to attract some of the finest doctors and nurses in the area. The 362,500-square-foot hospital offers emergency care, surgery and inpatient care, and a women’s facility with 11 labor and delivery rooms.

In designing the facility, located in the growing Lone Tree community in suburban Denver, it was important to preserve the mountain views from inside the facility and create a medical center that matched the quality of its location. What’s more, materials used in the medical center were selected to match the natural environment. Interior highlights included a two-story, stacked stone fireplace and grand staircase in the lobby, an outdoor healing garden and a dining patio.

Likewise, carpet selection was an important part of the design process.

The hospital chose carpet constructed of Antron® Legacy nylon for patient rooms, corridors, waiting rooms and nursery areas because it met the performance, style and maintenance needs of the facility.

The carpet also assists with navigation throughout the facility and provides a comforting feel — a factor that is increasingly important in hospital design.

Armstrong ceilings

Owner, supplier, manufacturer cooperate to recycle ceiling tiles

Home to 8,000 employees in four buildings in Washington, D.C., the World Bank replaces about 50,000 square feet of acoustical tile each year as part of renovations and staff relocations.

In past years, old tiles were thrown into a container and disposed of in a landfill. But the bank decided to recycle the tiles when it learned of Armstrong’s ceiling recycling program from Centennial Contractors, which manages the bank’s building maintenance.

The concept of the program is simple — building owners ship old ceilings from renovation projects to an Armstrong ceiling plant as an alternative to landfill disposal. The manufacturer pays the cost of shipping the old tiles, which it uses as raw materials to make new acoustical ceilings.

The difficulty for the World Bank was finding a place to store the old tiles until they could be picked up for recycling. Companies that participate in the recycling program are required to have a minimum of 30,000 square feet of tiles.

In the case of the World Bank, ceiling distributor Capitol Building Supply helped develop a plan to transfer pallets of used tiles to its warehouse first, and then to the Armstrong plant once the required 30,000 square feet had been collected.

Instead of returning empty following a delivery to the bank, the distributor’s trucks are now loaded with pallets of discarded ceiling tiles that are brought to the Capitol warehouse and stored. Once Capitol collects 30,000 square feet, it calls Armstrong.

Finding a way to recycle the tiles made sense, World Bank officials say.

“After all, we often advise governments on environmental issues,” says Luis Descaire, director of the World Bank’s general services department. “If we can’t practice what we preach, how can we expect our borrowers to do so?”

Automated Logic

BACnet system blends new, old equipment

As part of a $25 million renovation and addition project, South Pointe Hospital wanted to integrate new HVAC equipment, existing mechanical equipment and an existing control system.

Complicating the process was a requirement that the installation be phased as the intensive care, surgery and support departments moved into new spaces. The installation also required a critically timed chiller shutdown and removal as new chillers were installed.

Mark Kaczmarek, South Pointe’s manager of facility engineering, turned to a BACnet system from Automated Logic to tackle the integration project. The hospital already had a 15-year-old control system from Automated Logic in place when the project began. The hospital’s experience with the company and the local service provider was a factor in the selection process.

Completed last year, the installation features BACnet integration to the new mechanical components: two chillers, a pump package, penthouse unit and room pressure monitors. Cooling towers were relocated and tied into chillers, which remain on the former control system and continue to serve a portion of the acute care center. The cooling towers were integrated with the existing control system. The building’s pneumatic controls were replaced during the renovation.

Facility management personnel are using desktop computers in three locations to access and control the system: one in the outpatient center, one in the acute care center and a third in Kaczmarek’s office.

Though the system came with new graphics and navigation, the expanded control system required limited training time because the facilities staff was already familiar with the company’s system, says Kaczmarek.


Spray-polyurethane-foam roof trims school district operating costs

There are 275 roofs to maintain in the Dallas Independent School District. Michael Smith, head of the roofing department, hopes some of the district’s budget holes can be plugged by using a spray-polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing system from BASF. The school district has installed nearly 1 million square feet of SPF roofing in the past year.

“I would like to be retired before these roofs ever become a problem again,” says Smith.

With old roofs being relied on beyond their life expectancy and starting to leak, the district needed a roof that was cost-competitive, but also one that would resist hail damage.

“We decided on SPF because of its affordability,” says Smith. “It usually doesn’t require a tear-off of the existing roof. That saves a lot of money. And a simple recoat restores the system to its original performance levels at very low cost.”

Some of the roofs installed are part of the ALPHA program developed by the performance-based studies research group at Arizona State University’s Del E. Webb School of Construction. The ALPHA program is meant to analyze performance information and identify high-performance roofing systems, specialty contractors and facility systems.

Roofing systems with a 98 percent customer satisfaction rate and that are 98 percent leak free in installations are eligible for the program. Newly installed roofs are surveyed annually to make the ALPHA program.

“The 15-year warranty offered through the ALPHA program is really important,” says Smith. “The hail damage protection is also very good. This is a severe hail zone. Our insurance deductible for hail damage is very high. Now we don’t have to make insurance claims for hail because the ALPHA warranty covers that for us.”


School district wipes away graffiti problem with new partitions

With 25,000 students and 450 restrooms to maintain, nothing concerns Rene Esquivel, maintenance supervisor for the Visalia Unified School District in California, more than graffiti.

“Our philosophy is to get after graffiti as quickly as possible — and I mean we drop everything — because we know that graffiti breeds more graffiti,” says Esquivel.

Part of the problem for Esquivel was that the graffiti commonly wound up on toilet partitions, which could be difficult to completely restore. Metal partitions could be painted over, but they were prone to scratching. Permanent marker was just that on plastic partitions — no amount of paint could completely cover the image, says Esquivel.

A sample of one of Bobrick’s solid color reinforced composite partitions convinced Esquivel to conduct a six-month trial in one of the district’s elementary school bathrooms.

Esquivel hasn’t looked back.

The material in the new partitions is more scratch-resistant than plastic. Graffiti washes off more easily than it does on the district’s existing bathroom partitions.

“We began to install the partitions on our scheduled restroom renovations, one by one,” says Esquivel. “And it has yet to disappoint us. With regard to new construction, I contacted our facilities people and requested that they make Bobrick Sierra Series solid color reinforced composite toilet partitions a permanent specification for all new construction.”



Roofing system flourishes despite Alaska’s cold — and fire’s heat

It’s hard to picture a more hostile roof climate than Alaska. Roofs are subjected to every weather extreme imaginable. Temperatures range from 30 below zero to 90 degrees. Unusually long days mean damaging ultraviolet light during the summer. Brutal freeze and thaw cycles are common. Some building owners install new roofing systems every two or three years.

Arctic Corp. occupied 40 acres in Anchorage, including self-storage, warehouses rental units and commercial properties. After nearly 20 years of constantly reroofing buildings for Arctic Corp., Mike Fuller was looking for a system that could hold up to the Alaskan environment.

In 2000, Fuller chose a Duro-Last roofing system for one of the company’s mini-storage buildings.

During a trip to Duro-Last’s Oregon plant, Fuller learned that the company’s membrane is made from a proprietary blend of thermoplastic resins, plasticizers, stabilizers, biocides, flame retardants and ultraviolet inhibiting materials.

“After five years, I’m still surprised when I climb up there to find that the roof looks about the same as the day I installed it. It’s just a little dirtier,” Fuller says. “The only repairs we’ve needed on the roofs have been due to accidental punctures, which are very easily fixed.”

A fire also showed the roof’s durability. Mini-storage manager Bob Stout was awakened from his nearby apartment by small explosions in 2000. Flames up to 10 feet high were shooting from a storage unit. Stout expected the building to be lost in the blaze.

“The roof kept the fire from spreading,” says Stout. “That day we learned that a Duro-Last roof can char, singe or melt but it does not burn, even with an asphalt roof under it.”

Falcon Waterfree Technologies

Switch to waterfree urinals saves federal office thousands of dollars

Energy conservation has become a way of life at the Harold Washington Social Security Center in Chicago. Although the 10-story building had become more energy efficient since its construction in 1976, water consumption had remained the same.

Andy Andrzejewski, facility manager, decided a renovation of the structure’s bathrooms provided an opportunity to make some water conservation gains.

“At a Department of Energy conference two years ago, our facilities team leader and I were introduced to waterfree urinals,” Andrzejewski says. “We realized that if they worked, they could help us reduce our water usage tremendously.”

Andrzejewski decided to test Falcon’s waterfree urinals over three months. After three months, he evaluated whether the units had cut costs and sought feedback from restroom users and the maintenance staff.

“Overall, everyone was very impressed with the waterfree urinals,” says Andrzejewski. “They were accepted by the men in the building as well as the custodians. In addition, it was apparent from the start that we would probably save quite a bit on water, disposal and maintenance costs.”

Andrzejewski says that the building will save about 2 million gallons of water annually. It will also save $7,000 a year on plumbing repair. The units were also less expensive to install than standard urinals because they require less plumbing.

“Clean up is pretty simple,” he says. “There are no mineral deposits to worry about. The smooth dry surface is very easy to wipe clean, and there are not the germ and bacteria build-ups we experienced with the water.”


Firestop program updates hospital’s 100-year-old buildings

Some of the buildings on the Danbury Hospital campus were more than 100 years old. The challenge for John Sterry, project services manager, was bringing the buildings into compliance with NFPA 101 Life Safety Code.

Sterry made the project a five-year goal for the 1.4 million square feet of real estate owned by the Connecticut hospital. A key focus of the effort was firestopping. Sterry required that vendors seek approval of the facilities department before performing any work. The facilities team also identified all the fire and smoke barriers, with the help of a consultant.

New building penetrations were monitored. Vendors were alerted that firestopping was a priority and that a ceiling permit program was in place.

“Hilti and the hospital jointly work hands-on to ensure each vendor has a clear understanding of the UL guidelines and firestopping specifications for both through-penetrations (UL 1479) and construction joints (UL 2079),” says Sterry. “No contractor can work in our facility without authorization from our facilities department.”

When the vendor is done, Sterry and a firestop team visually inspect the work to make sure it complies with the correct UL system. Changes are traced electronically using a hand-held device that sends data to Sterry’s computer.


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  posted on 6/1/2005   Article Use Policy

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