HVAC Improvements Transform School and Save Energy

When temperatures soar outside, students and staff stay cool inside at Edison Middle School, thanks to the installation of air conditioning. That’s just one element of the mechanical equipment replacement project at the 187,000-square-foot middle school.

The addition of a sprinkler system – another key component – provides additional fire protection for approximately 700 occupants.

Energy Efficient Equipment

Unesco turned to our team to assist with the energy-saving project. Before the mechanical, electrical and plumbing updates, the school used the original 1969 equipment. It required much more energy than the new equipment.

The project’s energy-saving features included replacing a large domestic water heater with two high-efficiency water heaters. Instead of an ineffective pool water heater, the school now maintains its pool with the new high-efficiency boilers that heat the rest of the building.

Our analysis showed that we could reduce four air handling units to two units and still provide needed ventilation. The existing units now serve larger areas that aren’t used at the same time, such as the auditorium and cafeteria.

New chilled water piping made from plastic polypropylene runs from the outdoor chiller to the air handling units. These new units were replacements for the original air handlers.

This easy-to-install lightweight piping doesn’t corrode or rust. It brings chilled water from the chiller to the air handling units that provide air conditioning.

Additional changes include:

  • Replacement of boilers, pumps, exhaust fans, backup generator and building automation system
  • Addition of an air-cooled chiller and a kitchen make-up air unit to improve building pressurization and occupant comfort

Met Tight Time Frame

To accommodate the school’s schedule, construction began during spring break. It continued during the summer vacation with completion before the start of the school year.

Students and staff appreciate the air-controlled environment that provides energy cost savings.

Pearson Engineering led the mechanical improvements and met our tight time frame. Their innovative design reduced four air handling units to two units in one mechanical room without a loss of occupant comfort. That move will save money upfront and down the road. Their calculations also determined that a smaller chiller could be installed to save money and energy. They were a great addition to our team.

- Steve Schell, Unesco Project Development Engineer