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Customer Stories

Custom Penthouse Replacement

June 21, 2021

Project Highlights

Location: New Jersey

Industry: Commercial Real Estate

Products Used: Air Handling,

Climate: Humid & Cold

Topic: Optimal Comfort,

Encon Mech_1.jpg


Original to the 1985 building, the penthouse unit serving the HVAC needs of the 100,000 sq ft, Class B office building had become unreliable, and ineffective at providing a comfortable work environment for tenants. Building owners were concerned about the ever-increasing hot/cold complaints and the potential for lost revenue due to tenant dissatisfaction. Knowing they could not survive another summer with the aging equipment, owners sought to replace building systems before temperatures began to heat up.


Building owners contacted Encon Mechanical, a large mechanical contractor in New Jersey, for assistance in upgrading their systems. As plans were being developed, Encon discussed the project with Trane. Encon knew they could rely on Trane, one of the few manufacturers with the skill sets to design and build a high quality, custom penthouse unit replacement. Trane also offered local talent to coordinate with the Trane factory to meet the accelerated delivery expectations. Based their strong, trusted relationship, Encon moved forward, partnering with Trane to implement a 100 percent custom-designed penthouse to replace the outdated systems.

Creating design to meet building requirements, improve performance

Working together, Trane and Encon performed an assessment of the existing equipment to determine requirements for the penthouse. Based on their findings, the team developed multiple design iterations to ensure that the product would meet building owner needs. For improved performance, the mechanical design included provisions for an integral field-installed, high-efficiency boiler plant, along with a Trane custom DX evaporative cooled air handler. The team moved forward with plans to install the factory pre-fabricated mechanical equipment room on the roof to free up space, shorten the construction cycle and reduce installation costs.

“Basically, we wanted to duplicate the elements that were there, while improving performance,” said Murphey.

Adhering to footprint, efficiency and reliability specifications

Committing to an aggressive schedule, Trane expedited the design of the Custom Performance Climate Changer® air handler. The Trane DX air handler, featuring an evaporative condenser with screw compressors, provides improved performance and quiet operation to ensure an optimal work environment for tenants. To meet space requirements, engineers configured the fl exible design to match the footprint of the existing unit exactly. Lab-tested data, through prediction tools for leakage, deflection, acoustics and thermal performance, confi rmed the air handler would meet indoor air quality, efficiency and reliability requirements. In just 12 weeks, Trane built the custom designed unit, a construction that would normally take up to 35 weeks.

Adhering to exact specifications, Trane left open space in the penthouse to accommodate the building’s hot water boiler plant. Encon implemented the installation of high-efficiency boilers in the penthouse to help reduce the facility’s energy use.

Preparing for a seamless installation

With only a single weekend allotted for construction of the penthouse unit, Encon and Trane took measures to ensure a seamless installation. The team flew to the Trane plant to inspect the unit, carefully examining critical components and assembly provisions to prepare for the installation.


In collaboration, Trane and Encon Mechanical designed a penthouse mechanical room for owners of a Class B commercial office building. The upgraded penthouse has improved reliability, enhanced comfort, reduced maintenance needs, and increased tenant retention and acquisition. Completed over a weekend, the penthouse change out resulted in minimal disruption to building operations.