Parking garages that include basement levels must have adequate carbon monoxide monitoring and ventilation, for the safety of all.
An example of what can be accomplished with controls and a superior damper system was demonstrated recently by Edwards Engineering of Chicago, Ill.
The 1150 Lake Shore Drive Condominium Association is a multi-family high-rise located in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago. Residents vehicles are parked ina an attached, heated parking garage at ground, basement and sub-basement levels.
Edwards Engineering has been providing customers in Chicago and Northwest Indiana with commercial HVAC service and solutions since 1979. The firm was invited by Sudler Property Management to speak to its property managers about Peoples Gas and ComEd incentives and rebates. From what was related during the meeting, the 1150 Lake Shore property manager asked Edwards Engineering to provide a solution for the garage that would provide safety and energy savings.
It was learned that the garage had no carbon monoxide (CO) sensors. Exhaust fans were therefore operating 24 hours, seven days a week. The outside air opening to the garage had no damper system. Because of this, the hot water fan coil units serving the parking garage were operating almost full-time during the winter months.
After site visits and discussions with the customer, Edwards Engineering developed a demand ventilation project for the parking garage.
The solution included:
- dampers for the outside air intake openings
- carbon monoxide transmitters
- carbon monoxide control panel
- new exhaust fan motors with variable frequency drives.
During operation, the control panel receives a signal from the carbon monoxide transmitters, that there is a higher than allowable level of CO in an area, or areas of the parking garage. The panel then sends a signal for the dampers to open and exhaust fans to start and ramp up to a level sufficient enough to cleanse the area, or areas, with a high CO level. The solution allows for electrical savings by limiting the exhaust fan operation to run only as needed. Since cold outside air will not flow consistently into the garage, natural gas usage will dramatically decrease by the hot water fan coil units operating less often.
Before the project proposal was presented, representatives from Peoples Gas and ComEd were brought in by Edwards Engineering to evaluate the potential energy savings. The Peoples Gas representatives determined that the customer would save over $26,000 per year in gas usage. For this, Peoples Gas proposed to the customer a custom energy savings rebate of $39,244. The total return on investment for the project to the 1150 Lake Shore Drive Condominium Association was only 1.6 years.
"I could not have been more impressed with Edwards Engineering's commitment to and constant level of excitement regarding this energy saving project. We could not be more pleased with their collaborative efforts on this project," said Jeffery Morris, property manager of 1150 Lake Shore Drive Condominium Association.