Larimer County, located in north central Colorado, includes several mountain communities, as well as Rocky Mountain National Park. The county encompasses 2,640 square miles of irrigated farms, vast stretches of scenic ranch lands, thick forests and high mountain peaks. The beautiful area provides a wide spectrum of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.
When the Larimer County Courthouse Offices building was originally designed, it was generally only open during regular daytime business hours. As needs of the rapidly growing region changed, three large conference rooms on the first floor of the building were converted to community rooms, where area citizens could attend evening government-related business meetings. The four Trane IntelliPak rooftop units, used to provide a comfortable workplace during the day, had to remain in occupied mode at night to keep temperatures right for first-floor visitors. Wasting a considerable amount of energy and tax-payer dollars, Larimer County sought a solution to answer its after-hours comfort needs.
To begin its upgrade project, Larimer County turned to the The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN), a purchasing cooperative for schools, colleges, cities, counties, non-profits and governmental entities. TCPN allows its members to leverage their purchasing power to ensure they are receiving a good value for every dollar they spend on products and services. All TCPN contracts are competitively bid and evaluated by a government entity. Best-value contracts are awarded to national vendors in accordance with state procurement laws and regulation, and are based on quality, proven performance, customer satisfaction and pricing. Ensuring standardized rates, TCPN helped Larimer County obtain the best value, while also saving its limited staff the ordeal of a lengthy bidding process. Pleased with the value it provided on previous projects, Larimer County selected Trane, a TCPN partner, for its upgrade.
Evaluating the options
Trane worked with Larimer County and its local engineering consultant to evaluate a variety of options in order to determine the best solution for the Larimer County Courthouse Offices building. An energy analysis, with cost per kilowatt data, completed by the City of Fort Collins, was used to narrow choices. Ease of maintenance, project payback and return on investment (ROI) were evaluated for each option.
Meeting specific comfort demands
A new energy-efficient Trane 15-ton rooftop unit was added to keep visitors comfortable during after-hours meetings, while the existing Trane Intellipak units continue to provide an optimal indoor building environment during the day. With only the one unit in occupied mode at night, the county was able to substantially reduce its energy costs.
Reducing installation costs
Rather than installing the new rooftop unit on top of the building, a loading dock overhang on the second floor was chosen for its location. Using the existing structure allowed the county to avoid the expense of running duct work from the rooftop and helped to maintain the building aesthetics.
The installation team was able to intercept the main duct work of the building for the new unit, with a Trane VAV terminal unit controlling the first-floor conference room temperature. The factory-installed and engineered VAV unit helped to simplify installation and commissioning, resulting in faster start-up. A system-level controller ties the individual VAV terminal unit to the rooftop unit controllers, providing a coordinated system operation.
A Trane rooftop VAV system answered the specific comfort and energy saving needs of the Larimer County Courthouse Offices building. The project is reducing energy use by more than 119,000 kWh a year, resulting in an electricity cost savings of nearly $15,000 annually. "Getting the best value; that’s what I look for," said Troy Griffin, Larimer County Government, facilities maintenance manager. "Trane being a TCPN partner also saved us a lot of work, and a lot of time." "The system is easy to maintain, which is important, because we have a limited staff taking care of twenty-eight buildings. With the integration of all of our controls into one building automation system, my technicians can use the Tracer ES software to easily see what service or preventive maintenance needs to be done that day.” "The project provided what we wanted," Griffin added. "And it has worked out flawlessly.”
About Larimer County Courthouse Offices
Built in 2003, the five-story Larimer County Courthouse Offices building provides 156,000 square feet of office space. A Trane rooftop unit was installed on the second floor loading dock overhang to reduce installation costs and maintain building aesthetics.