Making Building Comfort 'Just Right'

Making Building Comfort 'Just Right'

In the Encon war room, from left to right, are Larry Burnside, Okyanus Yilmaz, Joe Farano, Avery Graham, T. Shannon Gilvary, Marty Indursky, David Indursky, Bryan Murphey, Jim Herdeman of KMC Controls, and Brian Lange. Mike Barone stands at right.
A sampling of the electrical and control components Encon replaced in the Miller Picking rooftop units.
Joe Ferano examines the electrical panel of a Miller Picking rooftop unit. Box at lower right contains KMC control components.

Encon Mechanical Corporation, Ocean, NJ, knows that commitment, ingenuity, and advanceplanning will bring a happy ending to any large and challenging project.

Encon, the Contracting Business 2007 Design/ Build Award winner in the Retrofit/Renovation category, had two customers to satisfy: the building owner, G.B. Limited, and the tenant, CommVault, a leading provider of data management software applications and related services.

CommVault occupies 101,000 sq. ft. of a 287,000 sq. ft. office building, and was very interested in seeing some improvements made to the comfort system. This was a classic “one office is too hot, one office is too cold” scenario. G.B. Limited, for its part, was concerned with tenant satisfaction, and wanted to improve the comfort in the 44 year-old building, and maintain profitability.

Encon’s mission: establish uniform temperature throughout the building, and update as much equipment as possible, within G.B.’s budget.

Key project goals included reducing energy and maintenance costs, improving comfort, reducing or eliminating temperature fluctuations, and improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).

Comprehensive Analysis Performed Encon’s David Indursky, president, and his father, Marty Indursky, are in charge of client contact, system design and scope, conceptual development, and document preparation. They were G.B. Limited’s contractor of record for the site, and while they were familiar with the building’s comfort system, they also knew it was essential to perform a full system review before making any recommendations.

Encon undertook a series of tasks that, once completed, would provide G.B. Limited with a total comfort solution, in two phases:

  1. Perform a complete cooling load analysis, taking into account actual building internal heat gain caused by lighting, people, and equipment.
  2. Thoroughly check all components of the existing rooftop equipment, paying particular attention to structural components, unit base, and coils. Although the Miller Picking rooftop package variable air volume (VAV) units were 35 years old, they were well-made and modular. Each section would be tested and thoroughly checked.
  3. Check all ductwork for proper sizing, leakage, and zoning, to best suit the CommVault operation.
  4. Review the feasibility of converting the existing Barber Coleman system powered induction boxes to a digitally-controlled system, and determine whether the Barber Coleman boxes could be replaced with fan-powered or shut-off types.
  5. Review all aspects of CommVault system usage, in terms of occupancy schedules and user control.
  6. Review the large computer laboratory serviced by stand-alone Liebert Systems.

Surprising Discovery Encon’s evaluation of the building produced some interesting findings, given the age of the original equipment. First, the Miller Picking units still had sufficient cooling capacity to service the ongoing needs of CommVault.

“The Miller Picking units were in sound structural condition, and the evaporator and condensor coils were capable of providing necessary heat transfer,” according to Marty Indursky, who spoke with Contracting Business about the project.

“We found that the units could be upgraded with variable frequency drives (VFDs), and mechanical and refrigeration upgrades, including rebuilding the economizer sections. And, with certain modifications made to return air ductwork, the return air fans could be decommissioned,” Indursky says. “It would be far less expensive to renovate and control what was already in place than to simply replace equipment and VAV boxes. System capacity was more than adequate to serve CommVault’s needs. In many areas, we eliminated the use of some smaller rooftop units.”

The four Miller Picking units now function with new VFD drives, new economizer sections, revised refrigeration controls, and a KMC direct digital control (DDC) system.

It was not feasible to replace the large Barber Coleman induction boxes. “They’re huge, and we would’ve had to close the place down for a month to replace them,” Indursky says.

“Experimentation with some boxes in a warehouse lab convinced us that the existing boxes could be upgraded, and made to perform similar to a modern VAV box, by adding digital controls, new actuators, and sensors,” Indursky says.

Encon updated the Barber Coleman induction boxes by adding KMC digital controls and control motors. Zoning was modified, and numerous other system modifications were completed. Control of all components — including various stand-alone electric heating components that were actually operating at cross-purposes with the cooling system — was improved by the KMC digital control system.

“In most instances, a system renovation of this magnitude includes replacing several large pieces of equipment. However, in this project, we were presenting a list of hundreds of small items. These components, combined with a custom-programmed KMC control system, would provide the promised results,” Indursky adds.

The original ductwork was properly-sized, and could be brought up to modern energy standards by minimizing leakage and upgrading air outlets. Encon determined that zoning issues could be corrected through the addition of several new variable air volume (VAV) boxes separating interior and exterior zoning.

Over time, various building tenants had added additional tonnage to solve local capacity and zoning problems. Encon’s recommendations allowed it to decommission 11 single-zone rooftop units totaling 76 tons.

By controlling outside air, baseboard heat, and existing terminal reheat, morning warm-up could be achieved without using the 445 kw electric heaters in the Miller Picking units. The heaters could be decommissioned.

Encon prioritized a substantial amount of supporting work into general categories:

  • The air delivery system was repaired and modified by patching holes in existing ducts, removing air outlets discharging into the plenum, removing abandoned flexible ducts from ceiling, and reconfiguring ductwork so no single induction box serves both interior and exterior spaces.
  • Encon modified all existing induction boxes, added six new cooling-only VAV boxes, and decommissioned 11 rooftop units.
  • Four variable frequency drives (VFDs) were added, one for each VAV rooftop unit.
  • Other additions included a baseboard electric heat control, digital control system, warehouse unit heater, baseboard convector, and lighting upgrades.

Once completed, Encon performed a complete air balance, and provided a full-color graphics package, complete with all necessary training and system commissioning.

Phase I of the project was initiated in spring 2005. Phase II was initiated and completed in spring 2007.

Workin’ On the Night Shift Encon was required to complete the project without interrupting CommVault employees. Their use of the space varies from general office work to high-density computer lab work, and it requires deepthinking, and a quiet environment. Therefore, all work below the roof would have to be performed after hours and on weekends, with full clean-up each night.

“We couldn’t allow any disruption to the operations,” says CommVault Vice President William C. Beattie, Jr. “This is a high-tech think-tank operation. Encon handled the ductwork and dusty, noisy work during evenings and weekends. The work on the controls and wiring were isolated during the day.”

As many as 20 Encon technicians worked on the CommVault project, and to their credit, they were willing to bend in order to meet the demanding work schedule.

“We have a very good staff that works with us whenever they can. We give them per diem pay, days off, whatever we have to do,” Indursky says. “It couldn’t have been done without committed, extraordinary employees.”

No Complaints “We’re very happy with Encon’s performance,” says Rob Malkoff, G.B. Limited’s on-site, owner’s representative.

“With Encon, I don’t have to go to an engineer whenever I have a problem. Marty Indursky does a lot of the engineering, and things turn out right.”

Malkoff and G. B. Limited President Carl Gross were pleased that Encon was able to refurbish some of the equipment, which would have cost a small fortune to replace.

“If we had to install entirely new equipment, it would have been cost prohibitive,” Malkoff says. And, from the tenant’s perspective, we had to do this in such a way that we minimized the inconvenience to them. Based on our relationship with Encon, we had faith in their ability to do the job, and it turned out well.”

“I’m a happy camper,” says Beattie. “The system is efficient, effective, and reliable, and I don’t have a line of people at my door everyday complaining about the environment. Encon put all the window offices on one zone, made the ductwork more efficient, and the controls made a huge difference.”

Total cost of the job was $500,000, a small amount to pay for “priceless” employee comfort, customer satisfaction, and an improved facility.

Marty Indursky says Encon was also pleased with the way the project developed from the idea stage to completion.

“The negotiation and compromise necessary to perform the work in phases took several months, and the trust we had from both sides was extremely important,” Indursky says. “The difficulty an owner has in working directly with a Design/Build contract instead of the traditional engineer/bid situation is never an easy sell. In this case, our service, our knowledge of the particular system, and our unconventional approach of retrofitting the existing Barber Coleman boxes created a unique situation. When all is said and done, we accomplished our goals.”

Winner at a Glance:

Company: Encon Mechanical Corporation, Ocean, NJ

Project Name/Location: CommVault office space, Ocean, NJ n Total Cost: $500,000

Key Customer Contact: Carl Gross, president, G.B. Limited; William C. Beattie, Jr., vice president, CommVault

The Project Team: David Indursky, president, and Martin Indursky, were both in charge of general administration, client contact, system design and scope, conceptual development, document preparation. Bryan Murphey and Avery Graham prepared specific task lists, using conceptual scope development as guidelines, and established line-by-line cost estimates. Joseph Farano supervised the equipment restoration portion of the work. T. Shannon Gilvary developed control sequences and wrote control programs. Robert Kuldanek handled project management, and was responsible for overall coordination and mechanical construction. Lawrence Burnside was responsible for the installation of the controls.

Products Key to Success:

  • Bry-Air dehumidification units
  • KMC digital controls: programmable controllers (KMD 7011; 5802; 5210)
  • KMC space temperatue sensors: KMD 1161
  • KMC electric actuators: KMC 5072; 5062
  • Air velocity sensors: SSS 1005
  • S tatic pressure sensors: TPE 1474-23
  • Siemens VFDs: SED2
  • P rice variable air volume boxes: SDV-08
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