2016 Design/Build Award: A Place in AC History

The Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) is a private social, business, athletic, and dining club with locations in Downtown St. Louis and Town and Country in West St. Louis County. The MAC’s Downtown Clubhouse was dedicated in a ceremony in 1915.

The downtown MAC facility is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many believe it was the first air-conditioned building west of the Mississippi River. That air conditioning system was installed at the MAC between 1934 and 1941, for a total cost of $244,000. The original, custom-built air handlers were still in place prior to this new project.  

Missouri Athletic Club’s historic downtown clubhouse recently partnered with Trane U.S., Inc. to implement $2.4 million in energy sustainability improvements and physical plant infrastructure upgrades using the “Set the PACE St. Louis” clean energy program to finance the project. The design process included a detailed investment grade audit of all MAC systems and facilities in order to develop simulated computer building models to analyze energy efficient technologies and optimize building system performance. This process allowed MAC’s Management and Board of Trustees to prioritize the Club’s needs while maximizing the financial impact for the MAC staff, guests and members.

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WINNER AT A GLANCE

PROJECT:

The Missouri Athletic Club, St. Louis, Mo.

Controls Contractor: Trane, U.S., Inc.

Electrical Contractor:: Ashinger Electric

Project cost:
$2.3 million

Scope of Project:
• Replace original air handlers
• Refurbish 350 horsepower 100 psi steam boiler and de-aerator tank
• Controls upgrade
• Chiller and pump work

PROJECT TEAM:
TRANE U.S. / IFS

PRODUCT KEYS TO SUCCESS:
Trane Tracer Controls
Trane Performance Climate Changer air handlers
Khem-Aqua water softeners
Bell & Gossett Model 1510 end suction pump 1510
Shipco pumps
Maxon boiler (refurbished)

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“The City’s stock of old buildings cannot keep up with demands for energy efficiency without some major retrofits, which can be expensive,” said Mayor Francis Slay. “We created ‘Set the PACE St. Louis’ to ease the burden and encourage savings — both financially and environmentally — for business owners to use.”

Specific renovations include exterior and parking garage LED light fixtures, recommissioning onsite steam generation, boiler retrofits, steam distribution and piping improvements, air handling systems modernization and Direct Digital Control integration to Trane’s web-enabled Building Automation Technology platform. As a result of implementing newer energy efficient technologies, the MAC will realize approximately $200,000 in energy and related operational cost savings while improving comfort and creating a healthier indoor club environment.

The project is anticipated to be funded entirely by leveraging guaranteed energy and operational cost savings through a performance contracting project with Trane. A performance contract is a “self-funding” package of products and services that delivers energy and operating cost reductions. Cost savings fund facility enhancements included in the contract. As part of the performance contract, savings are guaranteed to meet or exceed project costs or Trane pays the difference.

A Great Collaboration
Integrated Facility Services, Inc., St. Louis, Mo., served as a subcontractor to Trane St. Louis for phase two of the HVAC retrofit. Since 1966, IFS has provided a full range of facility solutions to keep building systems operating efficiently, reliably and safely,  including HVAC, plumbing, building automation controls, fire protection, 24-hour service and more.
Fresh air from outside now gets pulled through the new clean units and heated or cooled depending on the time of year, and is economically distributed where and only when needed.

Most of the MAC’s HVAC units were so antiquated that they had to be replaced with entirely new units with variable speed motors. All of the new controls are now tied to a central system, which allows the system to be operated remotely.

Fresh air from outside now gets pulled through the new clean units and heated or cooled depending on the time of year, and is economically distributed where and only when needed.
One of the biggest aspects of the project was bringing the giant Maxon boiler back online, at a cost of approximately $700,000. However, it drove approximately 75-80% of the ongoing cost savings for the project.

According to Gary Tidwell, IFS project manager/estimator/manager, the boiler was installed in 1982, but the MAC discontinued using it less than two years later because it made more sense to exclusively purchase steam from the city.  

When the cost of steam went up a few years ago, the MAC saw a more than $100,000 increase in utility costs, according to Smith. In addition to utility costs, the cost of running the existing boiler with high-pressure steam required stationary engineers onsite 24/7 and cost roughly $250,000 annually in payroll. The new HVAC system also takes up less space that the old one and saves $10-$15,000 per month in energy costs, Smith said.

IFS installed two new Khem Aqua water softeners as part of the boiler upgrade, to improve the life and quality of laundered items, such as linens, and uniforms, and to remove residue, such as the water spots seen on glassware.

“This originally was a 100-psi high-pressure boiler.  IFS and other contractors converted it to a 10 psi boiler,” Tidwell from IFS explained. “To do that we had to change the nozzles coming off the boiler; redo the safety controls, pressure relief valves, and header piping; and reconfigure the entire discharge manifold so that it could still produce enough BTUs per hour in a low-pressure operation,” Tidwell said. “We brought the boiler down to a low-pressure system for the majority of the building while continuing to use city steam in just the laundry department, which requires high pressure.”

“This solution created a beneficial redundancy. If the HVAC system or the steam provider, Trigen, ever fails, the MAC now has a back-up system in place,” Tidwell said.
IFS installed two new Khem Aqua water softeners as part of the boiler upgrade, to improve the life and quality of laundered items, such as linens, and uniforms, and to remove residue, such as the water spots seen on glassware.

Due to the age of the equipment, existing materials and spaces were checked for hazardous materials prior to any work being done.  During the course of construction, daily job hazardous analysis (JHA) was performed and documented before the workers started their daily work assignments. Everything was fully tested and commissioned before being turned over to the MAC staff.

Tidwell said the project was challenging due to the age of building and the equipment that was replaced, and the fact that the building remains open around-the-clock.

“We had to maintain comfort conditions throughout the building while we were working on it. We obtained the schedules for the facility, to see which areas would be least impacted at certain times," he said.

 

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