Case In Point
Dominican University cuts summer heating, achieves rebate incentive
June 1, 2013
s can spend substantial amounts of money heating and cooling large campus buildings. For Dominican University of River Forest, IL, that wasn’t acceptable, especially during the summer months.
|This modular high-efficiency heating system successfully helped Dominican University handle the entire domestic hot water load for its buildings.|
In 2010, the university began working with DRF Trusted Property Solutions of Plainfield, IL. The company observed a large amount of gas being used during the summer months. An initial project design was created to counter the problem, but it did not qualify for a business incentive program rebate from Nicor Gas Co., the local utility company.
In order to solve the problem and achieve the desired rebate, DRF turned to Metropolitan Industries Inc. to design a high-efficiency retrofit solution.
“The existing system the university employed during the summer months was a large steam boiler responsible for providing domestic hot water and reheat to both Parmer Hall and the Rebecca Crown Library,” said Matt Brickey, mechanical salesperson for Metropolitan Industries. “The boiler ran continuously all summer long to provide heat for these sites and consumed large amounts of gas.”
The final project design included three individual point of use systems customized to handle specified heating demands. Installation was completed in June 2012, and according to Metropolitan Industries, the design showed positive results for initial energy savings.
“To address the domestic hot water load, we designed a modular high-efficiency system,” said Brickey. “The modular heaters are controlled by a variable speed control platform and were designed to handle the exact domestic hot water demand for the entire campus.”
In order to supply the domestic hot water and AC reheat to Parmer Hall, a custom-designed condensing boiler package was supplied to the facility.
“In the previous configuration, Parmer Hall would receive steam heat from a central steam plant located over 500 ft away,” said Brickey. “Due to the location, radiant heat losses through piping could be excessive, which could impact the overall efficiency of the system. Because Parmer Hall uses its own domestic hot water system, Metropolitan provided a high-efficiency, point of use boiler package that tied directly into the reheat and domestic hot water system. It was installed directly in the Parmer Hall mechanical room and was sized for the actual building loads.”
The final system provided was a custom-designed heat transfer package engineered to capture the heat generated from an adjacent chiller system that could be used for AC reheat in the Rebecca Crown Library.
“We designed a system that captured the heat from the condenser water from an adjacent chiller system that would have otherwise been lost to the building’s cooling tower,” said Brickey. “The system uses condenser water heat through a heat exchanger to elevate the reheat temperatures.”
The individual packaged systems were designed per actual building loads. The previous boiler system would incur losses due to its method of distribution and was oversized because of the various loads it fed. The new systems are centralized and more energy-efficient in operation, which led to the significant energy savings.
Brickey said Metropolitan faced two particular challenges throughout the project.
“The first obstacle we faced was meeting the required delivery schedule,” said Brickey. “We only had several weeks to design and manufacture the custom-fabricated systems. We ended up meeting the deadline, but it took a great deal of effort from our design and fabrication departments.”
Brickey said the other challenge Metropolitan faced was designing the systems for ease of mobility and installation.
“We also needed to design these systems in a way where they could be maneuvered around the building and placed into existing mechanical rooms,” he said. “This too needed to be taken into consideration by our design and fabrication departments.”
Dennis Fiddick of DRF Solutions was pleased with the partnership with Metropolitan and was very satisfied with the project’s end results.
“Metropolitan’s engineering team was a key player in the project because its ability to pre-manufacture equipment made the project financially viable,” he said. “Overall, I describe this project as a home run and there was not one aspect of working with Metropolitan that did not exceed my expectations.”
The retrofit project allowed Dominican University to shut down its summer boiler and final annual gas savings were estimated to be 132,376 therms. With these savings, Dominican University received a rebate of $132,376 from Nicor. According to the utility, this is the largest rebate paid since the inception of the program.
“The Nicor rebate program not only helps cover some of the cost of the equipment and installation, but the gas savings realized will continue to give back for years to come,” said Brickey. “Because of the financial benefits the rebate program offers, it can help prospective customers who may be facing budget constraints get projects moving in the right direction.”