Imagine you are the plant manager for a 125-room resort with two very old boilers that badly need to be replaced. The job may well involve building riggers, taking out a doorway, and opening up the floor in several guest rooms to lower new, replacement boilers into the basement with a crane - in short, a potentially massive project for a building of this size.
That was the scenario facing John E. Gilligan, III, vice president and general manager for the Riviera Beach Resort on Cape Cod in Bass River, MA. Open six months of the year, April through October, Riviera Beach is a family-oriented resort, boasting 500 ft of private sandy beach along with three pools, a restaurant, and a lounge.
FACING THE INEVITABLEIt was January 2007 when Gilligan decided the time was right to replace the two boilers, with inputs of 400,000 Btuh and 550,000 Btuh, respectively. Originally, the units provided domestic hot water and baseboard heat during the two “shoulder” seasons each year (April and May; September and October). But for the past five years, they were used strictly for domestic hot water during the height of the resort season, which runs from June through August.
“They were old - one was installed 40 years ago,” said Gilligan. “They were costing a lot, and they weren’t in good condition. They were running all-out 24/7 for half the year, and there was no way to modulate them to meet the fluctuations in demand.”
Looking for energy savings and an installation that did not entail a massive construction project, Gilligan turned to Heat Transfer Products (HTP) and its then-regional sales manager [now technical training manager] John Sawyer. The two had worked together on a number of heating equipment-replacement projects over the previous five years.
“Right at the outset, John took the time and energy to educate me on high-efficiency products, their capabilities and what I could expect as a return,” said Gilligan. “He went above and beyond the call.”
As a result, by 2007, Gilligan was a seasoned user of HTP products, having made several purchases to replace outdated heating equipment at Riviera over the previous half decade:
Gilligan had no hesitation in jettisoning the next two antiquated boilers in line for replacement with one of the newest HTP products: a Phoenix gas-fired water heater with 119 gal of built-in storage. In addition, Gilligan equipped the Phoenix with a separate 119-gal storage tank.
The sealed combustion, direct-vent Phoenix delivers domestic hot water - and even space heating when connected to an air handler - at a combustion efficiency of 96%. “Our unit raises 240 gal of 55° water to 140° in 45 minutes,” said Gilligan.
Opting for the Phoenix enabled the resort to avoid the nightmare scenario of opening up floors in several guest rooms to drop replacement equipment into the facility. The new water heater was compact enough that “the installers just walked in the basement door with it and did the installation without a glitch. Overnight, we went from two boilers and million Btu, to a single water heater with a supplemental storage tank that did the job more effectively.”
More importantly, guest complaints about “no hot water” went from daily occurrence to nonevent, even during the busy season. Featuring all-stainless-steel construction and a spark ignition system, the fully modulating, ultra-low NOx Phoenix burner is “load-matching,” modulating its firing up or down to meet fluctuating demand. As the call for hot water rises, the unit’s fan accelerates; as demand decreases, so does fan speed.
PENNIES A DAYWhen the resort closed for the 2007 summer season, Gilligan put pen to paper to calculate just how much all this hot water was costing the Riviera. From the time the new Phoenix unit was installed in May until the resort’s closing in October, the facility consumed approximately 1,567 cu ft of natural gas, at a cost of $1,723.70. The building sold a total of 3,127 guest rooms during that six-month period, so Gilligan was able to supply hot water to each of those rooms for approximately $0.55 per night (1,724/3,127). “That is amazing,” he says.
“I’m enormously pleased with the energy efficiency of the new Phoenix, as well as all of the other Heat Transfer equipment we’ve installed over the years. Many of our rooms are rented by entire families, yet I spend well under a dollar a day to give them all the water they need for showers and baths. It’s very economical for me.” ES