Bluffton Middle School, BLUffTON, IN
$280,000 in annual operational, maintenance and energy savings over 10 years, which will repay the project's financing; new mechanical and building automation systems with a 25- year life, enabling ongoing savings for use in enhancing the educational program; more stable temperatures; lower humidity; quieter classrooms; improved instructional environment; seamless project design, construction and commissioning; "fast-track" project completion.
To reduce energy consumption, while creating a "SMART Environment" consisting of optimized space temperature, humidity, CO2, lighting, and noise levels.
To help this client meet its complex operating and budget objectives, EMCOR Construction Services (ECS) replaced an aging mechanical system in the client's 100,000-square-foot middle school with a new, more energy-efficient version. To optimize customer satisfaction, the company performed the work under a guaranteed energy savings contract (GESC). This type of contract provides a "guaranteed learning environment" that meets the owner's specifications for energy efficiency, temperature control, and humidity, CO2, lighting, and noise levels.
To finance the agreement, the client chose to issue a bond. When the referendum passed and received state approval, the pressure was on to complete the major upgrade during the summer.
Though the schedule posed significant challenges, ECS overcame them by self-performing the design/build process. This allowed the company to start the design work immediately. It also enabled early procurement of long lead-time components, as well as a seamless design and construction process.
But the schedule wasn't the only challenge. Twenty people from various trades had to work on site simultaneously, requiring continuous coordination. Furthermore, the team had to work in tight spaces to install the new distribution ductwork and piping. At the same time, the company had to avoid disrupting ongoing administrative and athletic activities. And it had to maintain comfortable indoor temperature and humidity levels after classes ended in June.
The design solution for the classroom, administrative areas and gymnasium called for installation of an energy-efficient variable air volume (VAV) system with chilled-water cooling and hot-water heating. Consequently, the central plant integrates a high-efficiency air-cooled chiller, a high-efficiency condensing hot-water boiler and a direct digital control (DDC) system. To achieve this, the ECS team demolished and removed the existing HVAC units. It then used a crane to lift the new air-handling equipment into two rooftop mechanical rooms.
To ensure adequate safety during the installation, ECS built on its "Be There For Life – Zero Accidents" program and the company's safety culture by implementing a series of worker and occupant safety initiatives. Since classes were in session, the company blocked off sections of the school and limited access to the roof during construction. To further meet safety and security criteria, ECS completed a portion of the project during evening and weekend shifts.
The value of the company's "Zero Accidents" approach became evident when a severe storm hit unexpectedly at about 9 p.m. on a Friday evening. The project team responded immediately by bringing in generators, repairing damages and securing the site to provide a safe environment for everyone.
This kind of thoroughness and preparedness were evident even before the project started. At that time, ECS measured the former system's temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, noise and lighting levels. Then, during commissioning, the company compared these measurements against the new system's numbers to ensure that it was meeting the owner's energy efficiency and noise reduction criteria. Under the GESC's provisions, ECS will re-evaluate performance and deliver a report to the school district and the state on an annual basis throughout the contract's term.
The Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District was organized in 1882. It is comprised of an elementary school, a middle school and a high school. Originally installed in the 1970's, the mechanical system ECS replaced had become increasingly energy inefficient as well as costly to operate and maintain. In addition, inconsistent temperatures throughout the building adversely affected the learning and teaching environment.