expensive air conditioners.
Illegal Pete's, Denver, CO
Illegal Pete's, a popular bar and restaurant located near the University of Denver campus, was located in an old building with, of course, old infrastructure. The owner was looking to make infrastructure improvements, including electrical and mechanical systems.
We put together two electrical designs for comparison sake—one for a completely new, expanded service for the building, the other a minor modification to the existing service. The new service cost about $30,000 more than the minor modification.
Here's where our multidisciplinary
approach kicked in.
As the mechanical engineers on the project we mulled over several design options. For this application we were big fans of evaporative coolers—they don't use nearly as much electricity and they pressurize the building, perfect in a restaurant with overhead doors opening onto patios. However, the evaporative heating and cooling units cost about $15,000 more than conventional rooftop air conditioning units. The other mechanical contractors proposed and argued for the less expensive approach. They were correct from their limited perspective.
However, they didn't factor in that these "less expensive" units would require the $30,000 improvement to the electrical service. With our broader perspective of both systems we knew that the more expensive air conditioning units would actually cost our client less in the long run. The ongoing reduced energy costs were icing on the cake.
We blow off steam
by paying attention to details.
Broadway Building, Boulder, CO
The Boulder Engineering Group was asked to review a design build mechanical design for a renovation of the historic Broadway Building in Boulder. Our recommendation was to use water source heat pumps which were more aesthetically pleasing and a better fit for the historic architecture as opposed to using ducts hidden above a new lay-in grid ceiling.
This project allowed Jerry to investigate an anomaly that had bothered him for years. When he drove down Broadway in the winter he could see "steam" coming out of the building's closed circuit cooling tower. While onsite he decided to check out the building's main heating plant.
Not one to take the easy way out, Jerry followed the piping up five floors, from the basement boiler room to the roof-mounted tower. Voilà! He found out that the piping was connected backwards--the water was unnecessarily being heated before going through the tower. He quickly reported this waste to the building's owner. A few hundred dollars later spent on a welder and a little piping eliminated this extremely wasteful situation. All in a day's work.