Location: Laporte, Pennsylvania
Industry: Local Government
Products Used: Chillers, Energy Management & Controls,
Services Used: Energy Analysis & Monitoring, Energy Efficiency Contracting, Upgrading,
Climate: Humid & Cold
Topic: Sustainability, Efficiency, Cost-Saving, Optimal Comfort, Air Quality,
With multiple chiller failures, 40-year-old boilers and antiquated controls, the mechanical systems at the Sullivan County Courthouse were aged and becoming costly to maintain. In addition to rising service costs and excessive fuel consumption, the building was also experiencing significant comfort issues. The facility’s three-phase construction, which began in the mid-1800s with a stone-laid building, had resulted in a drafty chill, which was being alleviated by the use of space heaters during cooler months.
The Sullivan County Courthouse’s issues came to a head when a meeting with Trane representatives to discuss a potential energy saving project was halted by a chiller failure. The three County commissioners, two of whom had been recently elected, took action to replace the failing equipment and tackle their immediate cooling needs.
Streamlining the procurement process
Sullivan County used cooperative procurement to speed the chiller upgrade project. Cooperative procurement allows an entity to leverage pricing to keep a project on budget. All contracts are competitively bid, evaluated, and awarded to vendors that have been carefully selected based on quality, proven performance, customer satisfaction and pricing. With the procurement method allowing the County to streamline the process, the commissioners chose Trane, a preapproved network vendor and trusted mentor, as their project partner. “As a government body we must follow procurement regulations. Cooperative procurement met our obligations,” said Brian Hoffman, county commissioner, Sullivan County. “Given the time of year, that we had already had a failed chiller, and knew that we would also need to be replacing our heating systems, we wanted to move ahead quickly.”
Improving efficiency, reliability and the work environment
The Trane team evaluated the building load and explained replacement chiller options best suited to address the courthouse’s cooling needs. A 60-ton Trane CGAM air-cooled scroll chiller was selected to replace the failing chiller, along with new chilled water pumps and piping. Trane CGAM scroll chillers offer a combination of high efficiency to reduce energy costs and low sound levels to maintain an optimal indoor environment. The simple, robust design of the Trane CGAM chiller helps to ensure maximum reliability.
Increasing energy saving
Trane and Sullivan County continued their discussions regarding potential energy saving opportunities. Entering into a guaranteed performance contract to leverage energy savings to pay for upgrades, the team performed a thorough evaluation of the building, identifying a number of areas that could help the county save money. The building’s 548 fluorescent lights were retrofitted with LED fixtures to reduce electricity use and improve lighting quality. The courthouse’s oil-fueled boilers were replaced with propane boilers, a propane domestic water heater was installed, and the existing energy recovery ventilation (ERV) unit was removed and replaced. The air-to-air ERV unit pretreats incoming air to help cool it in summer and warm it in cooler seasons, maintaining proper ventilation levels to improve indoor air quality.
Simplifying building operations, managing energy use
The County selected the Trane® Tracer® SC building management system to control their HVAC systems. The easy-to-navigate system allows the County to use any mobile connected device, including a tablet or smart phone to manage daily operations, adjust setpoints, quickly respond to hot/cold calls, make schedule changes, manage alarms, and identify potential issues. Occupancy sensors help control lighting and temperature settings, providing real time data to identify unoccupied areas, such as the seldom-used courtroom. Instead of operating 24/7 as before, the building’s heating and cooling systems run only when needed reducing energy consumption and cost. The Tracer building management system and unit controllers are supported by a Trane service agreement to keep systems operating at their best. “The controls were the best part of the project,” said Mark Minier, maintenance supervisor, Sullivan County. “I can bring our systems up on my computer and change what I want. The system is simple to use and is backed up by Trane professionals who can also make adjustments if needed.”
Sullivan County commissioners and facility director recognized the need to replace equipment that was in service past its expected useful life. With equipment failures initiating the need to act quickly, Trane was selected as their solutions partner. Wanting to be good stewards of taxpayer money, the County challenged Trane to find solutions to reduce their energy and operating spend. Trane customized a solution that not only replaced major mechanical equipment, but guaranteed savings from the existing budget to pay for the upgrades over a period of time. The project solved the immediate needs of the facility to provide a safe and comfortable environment in the building, while Trane focused on savings improvements that would minimize energy spend and wasted operating expenses. As a result of the savings achieved, project payback will be less than half the time expected. The project was completed on time and on budget with high quality products and workmanship backed by a guarantee from Trane to perform as designed. With commissioners committed to doing it right the first time, the Sullivan County Courthouse now serves its occupants and visitors with a safe, comfortable and efficient building and county residents have been ensured to have a building that serves their needs in the years to come with minimal expense. “I can tell by the air quality that things are working,” said Donna Iannone, county commissioner, Sullivan County. “I look forward to it remaining this good for the next ten years.”
ABOUT SULLIVAN COUNTY COURTHOUSE
With a population of approximately 6,300, Sullivan County is a beautiful, rural community in mountainous north central Pennsylvania. The county is known for its coal, timber and tourism, as well as its breathtaking waterfalls, small villages, and quaint shops. In 1978, the historic Sullivan County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rectangular brick building was built to last with 18-inch thick walls, hardwood windows and doors, and a slate roof. The building includes county offices, a sheriff's office, and the jail on the first floor, with an area on the second floor designated as the courtroom.
SULLIVAN COUNTY COURTHOUSE
• Aging mechanical systems
• Rising service costs
• Excessive fuel consumption
• Comfort issues
• Cooperative procurement
• Trane air-cooled scroll chiller
• LED lighting
• Propane boilers
• Energy recovery ventilation
• Building management system
• Improved comfort, lighting, air quality
• Reduced hot/cold complaints by more than 90 percent
• Energy savings of more than $45,000 annually