Care First – RRSC Expansion

The Care First project involved the design and construction of a new two-story office building of approximately 65,000 sq. ft. Mechanical Engineering & Construction Corporation (MEC²) was the mechanical design/build contractor responsible for the $1.2 million dollar heating and air conditioning system installation and the control system installation that is compatible with the building owners central control system strategy for remote monitoring and control.

The project was a partnership with Merritt Properties, LLC real estate development and performance contractor, the building tenant, and MEC² to plan and build the structure in Care First's office park in Owings Mills. The building is a sister building to an existing office building which resides next to this new Care First building. The object of this construction was to mimic the existing building while adding enhancements to the heating and cooling system design with new technologies and innovative construction techniques.

The scope of the project consisted of providing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning for the new facility. The ventilation system and air conditioning system is provided by four (4) 50 ton variable air volume rooftop units provided with supply and relief fans, variable frequency drives and refrigeration system consisting of high efficient compressors, condenser coils, fans, and high capacity evaporator cooling coils. As well as selecting high efficient cooling systems and energy saving variable frequency drives, the rooftop units work in conjunction with energy recovery ventilation units that provide the required outdoor air ventilation per ASHRAE Standard 62 for improved indoor air quality. The energy recovery ventilation units pre-cool or pre-heat the incoming outdoor ventilation air trading heating and cooling energy with the air that is exhausted to the outdoors. The supply air is distributed through insulated sheet metal ductwork to variable air volume terminal units consisting of single duct and fan powered units. The fan powered units were selected with high efficient ECM motors.

The heating system for the building is designed to provide heating water to the terminal units for the supply of warm air to the spaces. The terminal units are equipped with two row heating coils so we can maximize the heat output of the unit while minimizing the demand for heating water quantities. The heating water is generated by four (4) high efficient condensing type boilers that we packaged in a roof top enclosure. The modular boiler system is installed in a rack system that provides a common header system so boilers can be staged on and off in a very efficient manner based on heating demand from the building. The boilers can fully modulate the entire range of the heating demand spectrum and are coupled with inline pumps equipped with variable frequency drives that modulate the pump capacity based on heating demand from the building. The heating system will provide the required heating capacity with no excess energy wasted due to over-sizing of the system or inefficient system operation.

The building automatic temperature control system monitors and controls every HVAC component in the building and also controls the building lighting system scheduling. The rooftop units and terminal units work in sequence to minimize energy usage while providing the required air conditioning capacity. The control system is married to the boiler control system to integrate the heating process efficiently and effectively. The boilers are brought online based on a call for heating that is synchronized with an outdoor air temperature and the boilers will also be brought online on a call for reheat requirement in an area as required that is not dependent on outdoor air temperature. The central control system can be remotely monitored for alarm conditions and set-points and sequencing may be altered through the remote data connection in the main building control panel.

The building has a data center where we provided dual Liebert cooling equipment operating in a stand-alone mode of operation from the building schedules. The building central control system monitors environment conditions in the data center and will alarm upon equipment failure. Dual systems were provided for redundancy in the cooling system.

Challenges to the $1.2 million dollar mechanical project were consistent with each phase of the construction. The phases were split into the core and shell and then the final tenant plans were implemented. Therefore, we needed to complete shell portions of the building and then back out and relocate to finish the final tenant construction. Coordination and quality control was paramount to the success of the project. Quality control observations and inspections were routine in this construction effort. The site walk-through fostered continual communication on the progress of the construction and also the quality of the construction.

The innovative system design and installation in concert with an eye toward energy efficiency has resulted in a sharp looking building that is functional to the users and cost effective to the owners.

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