Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Feasibility

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5
    Post Likes

    Feasibility

    After conducting what little and inneffective research I could do on my own, I have decided to consult the (who I hope are) pros.
    There is a large building. This building is rather old. In fact this building is probably 100+ years old. It has existing steam lines. There are 30+ rooms in this building, all more or less the same size. The inhabitants/users of this building are not of the same hardy substance as those who built the building and have now succumbed to using window AC units. My question is then, is there any other alternative to using said window units, hopefully one that results in more efficient cooling of the building? If neccessary the existing steam lines, boilers, and radiators could be replaced; the main objective here is to preserve the architectural integrity of the building while providing more effient climate control.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    17
    Post Likes
    Your question is confusing - you are asking if there is a more efficient way to COOL the building and yet you are talking about boilers and steam lines/radiators. The steam and radiators are used for HEATING. So basically it sounds like the occupants are using the steam system for heat and window A/C units for cooling - what exactly are you looking to do? Are you looking to replace the HEATING system or install a COOLING system for the whole building?

    Also, you have to answer this question: how much money is willing to be spent? There are many efficient ways for climate control. Steam is generally a pretty good way to go for heating but I'd say in a building that old it could definately be improved.

    If you are looking to install BOTH heating and cooling the most efficient method is probably going to involve the use of ground water. Either a system of ground source water to air heat pumps or ground source water to water heat pumps and fan coil units in the building. However, systems like these require a sizable investment up front to install (in other words it's expensive as hell) and you would need the ground space outside to install a well field. But after installed the system would use water from the ground YEAR ROUND to provide cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. If set up correctly these systems can also provide "free cooling" during warm days in the spring and fall (when the ground water is cold enough to cool the air directly, without the need for the heat pump's refrigerant cycle to be operating).

    Give me some more details on exactly what you are trying to do and I can give you more specifics.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter

    Feasible

    I apologize for the confusion. I meant to say that while the building does have an existing heating system, it could be removed in favor of a heating and cooling system.
    Since this will have to be a relativly permanent invesment, cost really is not too much of a concern.
    To sum it up, the main priority here is cost efficiency in the long run. So if a central heating and cooling system would prove to be more efficient than the existing heating and room to room cooling in the summer, than such an undertaking would indeed be feasible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    17
    Post Likes
    OK then you have MANY options available to you. Given that you want to maintain the architectural integrity of the building you probably will not be able to install any fan coil units or heat pumps above the ceilings so you would need spaces where you could locate these units and the ductwork that would be associated with them.

    Do you have the space outside to install a geothermal well field? You would need something like a couple hundred square feet of outside ground space in which to dig the field - nothing would need to be visible on top of the ground but you'd still need the space.

    Where are you located? Climate?

    How many floors is the building?

    I'm assuming you have a mechanical room somewhere in the building that is being used to house the boiler, etc. If this is correct where is the room located? And is there another space somewhere in the building?

    Also - is there a basement and attic that can be used for equipment and ductwork?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    There is plenty of attic space, and some limited basement space (theoretically unlimited if nobody minds digging). There is a boiler room on the ground floor, as well as several miscellaneous rooms scattered throughout the building. There are four floors, not counting the attic and unfinished basement. The building is located in Kansas, and where the temperature ranges yearly from -10 to 110, roughly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    17
    Post Likes
    Given your location and climate fluctuation I would say that a ground water system is DEFINATELY the way to go. It would reduce your monthly energy bills by a LOT, probably more than 50% less than you are paying now. Just be prepared to spend a good amount of money for this equipment, as I said. This is the system/equipment I would recommend:

    1. Geothermal well field on your property
    2. Air handling unit(s) with heat recovery for ventilation - to get fresh air into the building.
    3. Several water to air heat pumps with reverse cycle capability installed in the basement and attic - ducted to the spaces (these would use the ground water to either heat or chill the air as required).
    4. If necessary you could have preheating and/or precooling coils in the air handling units if the temperatures are extreme for extended periods of time. You could use a gas fired heating coil if natural gas service is available to your building and a direct expansion (refrigerant) precooling coil (this probably wouldn't be necessary).

    So basically this is the equipment you are looking at needing to install:
    Geothermal well field piping
    Hydronic pumps for the well water
    Piping inside the building to the heat pumps
    Several ground source water to air heat pumps (I would recommend McQuay)
    Air handling unit(s) with energy/heat recovery
    Ductwork

    The system should probably be set up for partial recirculation of air during the extreme temperature months (Jan, Feb, July, Aug, etc) so you are only taking in a small percentage of outside air. Fresh air would be supplied from the air handler(s) to the heat pumps and the heat pumps would recirculate space air (these heat pumps have built in fans). This setup I've laid out will allow all mechanical equipment to remain hidden away (outside of the occupied areas) and would have a limited impact on the walls and ceilings in the building - if at all.

    Does what I've said here make sense? Let me know if you have any specific questions.

    Good Luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    236
    Post Likes
    You may consider using Mitsubishi's CITYMulti system. One large outdoor unit connects to up to 50 indoor units (one per room). The efficiency on these systems is remarkable and it can provide excellent heating and cooling.

    http://www.mitsubishipro.com/en/prof...ric-renovation

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    gilmanjr, thank you for the information. Are there any contractors/companies who do this sort of thing (in NE KS)? Or can any heating/cooling companies install them?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    17
    Post Likes
    I can't answer that for you - I work in New York. I'm sure you can find someone who can do it, just realize that you're going to need to make sure you'll have sufficient heating and cooling capacity and the control capability you require. I would start on McQuay's website - they might have the techs necessary.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    5
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Since I doubt you would want to write a detailed manual for how to go about the installation, operation, and maintenace of the system you described, do you you know of any books and/or other sources of information on said system?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Posts
    489
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by piklikl View Post
    gilmanjr, thank you for the information. Are there any contractors/companies who do this sort of thing (in NE KS)? Or can any heating/cooling companies install them?
    Check with the maintenance director of the local school district. A lot of schools are being build and/or retrofitted with these systems. They can tell you who their engineer was and who they have had good luck with as a contractor. It is definitely a good idea to use someone experienced in large commercial geothermal if this is what you want to do.

    You may want to consider an energy management control system at the same time. You can also contact your electric utility for assistance and ask if they have any rebate programs available.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Langley, BC, Canada
    Posts
    390
    Post Likes
    You can look at a variable refrigerant flow system from Mitsubishi, Daiken etc....or geothermal as already suggested. Check and see if you have a Climatemaster rep in town.
    *Proud Member of UA LOCAL 516*

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    17
    Post Likes
    Quote Originally Posted by piklikl View Post
    Since I doubt you would want to write a detailed manual for how to go about the installation, operation, and maintenace of the system you described, do you you know of any books and/or other sources of information on said system?
    Go on the website for McQuay (www.mcquay.com) and the website for Florida Heat Pumps (http://www.fhp-mfg.com/). There are many resources and manuals available on those sites. If you call one of them, or both, and tell them you are interested I'm sure they would send you any book you want.

    I would highly recommend that you hire a professional to install and set up this type of system. It isn't as simple as installing a furnace and thermometer in somebody's house. You need to have the control capability for these components or it won't function efficiently. At a minimum someone would need to survey your property for the geothermal well. As I said twice already - this system is going to cost a substantial amount of money and I strongly suggest that you have it done correctly, a centralized building management system (as recommended) is probably a good idea. If these systems aren't balanced properly you will not see the long term cost benefit.

    By the way I forgot to mention: having this type of system installed would definitely qualify your building for a LEED certification. Depending on the level you could see some substantial tax savings.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •