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Preparing for an HVAC Emergency

It is 4 a.m., and the phone rings. The building’s boiler has failed, and it is 20 degrees outside. Technicians will not be able to repair the failure in a few hours. It will be days or weeks until repairs are complete or a new boiler is in service, assuming one is available for installation and delivery. Now what?

It is essential to have emergency-preparedness plans that include HVAC equipment failure. While many organizations have general emergency-preparedness plans designed, they must not forget about HVAC equipment failure! With a plan, the above situation could have been much easier to resolve and would have limited system downtime to just a few hours, minimized disruptions to building occupants and operations, and eliminated almost the entirely the risk of damage to the building and its systems.

What insight does Bruner have on this topic for you? We asked our operations manager for some tips on this situation and he suggests “Hopefully, you have a preventative maintenance program in place and as a result, already have the funds set aside for this inevitability. Your service provider should have noted the boiler’s condition on their last several maintenance summaries and during a quarterly meeting should have relayed that it was a major cause for concern that needed immediate attention. Preferably, your service provider and trusted partner should have identified the specific concerns and had contingencies in place so that this didn’t happen to begin with. Ideally, identifying redundancy or areas where it is missing should be a part of every comprehensive maintenance program so that you don’t find yourself in this situation.”

Boiler failures aren’t the only HVAC emergencies that can occur – don’t forget to address central chillers, individual-area HVAC systems, and also to be aware of temporary changes in the way occupants use a building which can create conditions where the existing HVAC system no longer can meet the needs of the application. As always, Bruner can help your organization develop a comprehensive maintenance program to avoid and prepare for an HVAC emergency.

Is it Greener to Retrofit than Build New?

We all know that building new green buildings is always a hot idea, but experts have been pushing the idea that retrofitting existing buildings with green upgrades provide more environmental benefits. Your first thought may be new = better however, there is now proof that these experts are correct from a report released earlier this year. The report found that it is unequivocally greener to retrofit an old building than construct a new green building, no matter how many high-tech bells and whistles are in the new construction. The report was drawn from “The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse” project which was commissioned by Preservation Green Lab.

Elizabeth Heider, chair of the board of directors at the USGBC said “The thought was in order to build green you have to build new.” However, the report numbers add up in favor of retrofits. The report states:

  • It can take between 10 and 80 years for a new energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that come from construction.
  • Environmental savings from re-use are between 4 and 46 percent over new construction when comparing buildings with the same energy performance level
  • The negative environmental impact of retro green for human health was between 12 and 38 percent less than for new construction
  • When it comes to ROIs, retros showed a 19.2% increase in ROI versus 9.9% for new buildings

Case in point, retrofitting is the way to go! Bruner has a successful track record of helping our customers retrofit their mechanical systems for over 50 years. Let us assist you in developing a retrofit solution that works best for your building by contacting us today!

Discover the Value of HVAC Preventative Maintenance

In a way, HVAC preventative maintenance can be compared to that of your car. If you spend $30 on an oil change in your car, you would save $3,000 on a new engine. If you don’t change the oil and replace belts and filters, the engine will lock up and the vehicle won’t operate. Proper preventative maintenance for HVAC equipment will basically do the same thing. Maintenance isn’t expensive compared to what you might need to spend if your system degrades, and therefore ultimately fails. An example is provided by Anthony Shaker, vice president of operations at UNICO Newton, MA:

If you have a piece of equipment that costs $10,000 to maintain and has a forecasted life of 10 years if properly maintained, you will spend only $20,000 from first cost to replacement cost at the 10-year mark, assuming it would cost $10,000 again to replace it at the end of its lifecycle. However, if you did not properly maintain the unit and it failed at the 5-year mark, you would need to spend $10,000 to replace it after 5 years and then replace that same unit again in another 5 years if you continued to not perform maintenance. Your total cost would be $30,000.

Bruner agrees there are a few key concepts to pay attention to. First, HVAC system maintenance isn’t expensive compared to what you might spend if your system degrades. Second, the first place to turn when building a successful HVAC maintenance plan should be the manufacturer’s operating and maintenance manual. Don’t overlook these maintenance manuals because they provide a concrete blueprint for the steps you need to take to maintain chillers, boilers, motors, air-handling units—every piece of equipment in a building’s HVAC system! Next, by tracking different system indicators such as oil temperature, RPM speed, etc. you can pick up on many emerging problems before they reach a crisis situation. Finally, it’s important to do a life-cycle cost analysis when determining if you should repair or replace an aging HVAC system component. Ideally, the ratio of spending for HVAC systems should be 70% preventive maintenance and 30% corrective maintenance.

Bruner’s planned, predictive, and preventive approach to HVAC system maintenance results in your ability to control costs, extend the life of the facility and its systems, thereby improving operations and cash flow.

Ready to get started? You can trust Bruner, the #1 Heating and Cooling company in Central Ohio, to get the job done.

 

 

Source: http://www.buildings.com/tabid/3334/ArticleID/3183/Default.aspx#top

Fast Track Prefab for Scioto Downs Casino

The Scioto Downs Casino is a fast track project. The construction of the building must be concluded in six months, with all HVAC and plumbing finished in months two and three of the project.

Bruner Corporation has performed many fast track jobs in the past, but not as short as this. In order to accomplish this task, prefabrication was a necessity. Bruner developed an aggressive plan that entailed the prefabrication of all ductwork and plumbing fixture rough-in piping systems in our shops. The fixtures would subsequently be shipped to the project on a just-in-time basis.

The prefabrication process consisted of 60,000 pounds of ductwork and 2,500 feet of waste and vent, and domestic water piping. Modular restroom assemblies were prefabbed for 161 fixtures. Twenty-one batteries were shipped to the project, rolled in to place, and finish piped in four weeks.

Bruner met our commitment to our customer with the detailed planning and coordination between our fab shop and field teams.

Thanks to all those who made this project a tremendous success.

INFOGRAPHIC: Business First Book of Lists Top Heating & Cooling Companies

In the 2011 Book of Lists published by Columbus Business First, Bruner topped the “Top Heating & Cooling Companies” chart. This is a distinction that we have earned several years running and we continue to aim to live up to the expectations this award sets. Our position is in no way secure, however, with such excellent competition in the central Ohio area.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top Heating & Cooling Companies

Looking for some HVAC tips from the top heating and cooling company in central Ohio? Check out our e-book containing 9 Tips to Keeping Your Mechanical Systems in Tip-Top Shape!

Contractors: Learn How to Boost Productivity and Lower Expenditures

“Companies that manage their labor and their inventory effectively are among the most profitable,” says Ruth King (@RuthKing) in HVACR Business Magazine. King used her wealth of knowledge and 25+ years of experience in the HVACR industry to share with HVACR Business readers how the contracting business can increase profits without increasing prices. The solution: productively manage your labor force.

Here are ten ways to do so:

  • Lock up your warehouse and parts room
  • Make sure that charges for nitrogen use, silver solder, vacuum pump (and the oil change after each use), reclaim units, and leak testing are included in your flat-rate pricing or added to the invoice
  • Add a charge of $0.50/pound for refrigerant disposal
  • Say thank you to your installers and service technicians by bringing them a soda or hot drink on the job
  • Create a sheet and have the customer sign off that they understand how to use a programmable thermostat
  • Use tickler files
  • Say, “It’s time for your prepaid maintenance check” instead of spring/fall tune up
  • Keep the second call of the day open
  • Use the camera in your phone or keep a digital camera in your truck
  • Track productivity

For further explanation of these guidelines, visit HVACRBusiness.com.

NCH RBIII Nears End of Plumbing, Med-Gas Line Installation

Nationwide Children’s Research Building III is nearing the end of the installation of the building’s plumbing and medical gas lines after almost two years of field installation work.  The seven-story building is roughed in and final connections to medical outlets, building equipment and fixtures will be made throughout the next 30 days.

Nearly 15,000 linear feet of medical gas copper pipe serve the wet labs on levels four and six, distributing carbon dioxide, oxygen, medical air, and lab gas.  Over 17,000 linear feet of domestic water copper pipe has been installed, with more than half of that being located in the lower level vivarium. These lines feed the faucets, drinking fountains, emergency shower and eyewash stations throughout the building. The lower level vivarium also required a specialized drinking water distribution system specifically designed for small and mid-sized animals. These 2,600 linear feet of fire rated plastic pipe were brought in from a design and manufacturing company based out of California to supply clean water to over 200 distribution stations.

Currently, Bruner is working in conjunction with other final trades companies to ensure all sinks, faucets, eyewashes, and bathroom fixtures are set properly. Final items to be completed by other trades include installation of cabinetry, floor tile, drywall, and ceilings; painting; and installation of lab-specific structures to house medical gas lines.

Life Safety for the building is set for February 6, 2012, meaning that all plumbing work must be completed and inspected by that time.

 

OSU Tunnel Project Nears Completion of Main Piping Systems

Bruner’s work as on the Ohio State University Medical Center Tunnel project began mid-2010. As we near the end of 2011, Bruner’s team is working hard to meet deadlines, complete tasks, and prepare for next year’s challenges.

At its inception, the project involved a utility tunnel relocation providing high pressure steam and chilled water to OSU Medical Center’s new Cancer Critical Tower, along with distribution to other main hospitals on the Medical Center campus. Feature of the project include:

  • Chilled Water Piping
    • 1,600 lineal feet of 36” extra heavy carbon steel piping
    • 900 lineal feet of 42” extra heavy carbon steel piping
    • 500 lineal feet of 24” preinsulated underground piping
  • High Pressure Steam and Condensate Piping
    • 1,000 lineal feet of 12” seamless carbon steel piping
    • 1,500 lineal feet of 8” and 6” stainless steel piping

The goal of the mechanical upgrade was to result in greater efficiencies and savings in operational costs and energy in adjacent Medical Center buildings.

As we sit here today, the main piping systems for chilled water (CHW), high pressure steam (HPS), and pumped condensate return (PCR) for all remaining sequences in the Tunnel project are nearing completion. The Bruner team is also preparing for hydrotesting of the CHW piping, which will begin in mid-to-late January 2012. In the following four weeks, crews will focus on small bore piping and specialties as they prepare for the steam blow operation to begin in May 2012.

Advantages of Prefabrication Date Back to Ancient Times

The process of prefabrication has been around since ancient times. It is believed that as early as the 3800s BC a roadway known as the “Sweet Track” was built in Somerset Levels, England, using prefabricated sections of Ash, Oak and Lime trees. Today, prefabrication is used in engineering across many disciplines, including mechanical and civil engineering.

At Bruner, we often prefabricate materials at our location in Hilliard, Ohio, prior to delivering them to any given job site. To learn more about the advantages of prefabrication, watch the video below.