GE Capital Project

The GE Capital project involved tenant improvement construction of a 22,000 sq. ft. office space which will be LEED® certified for Commercial Interiors. Mechanical Engineering & Construction Corporation (MEC²) was the design/build mechanical contractor responsible for the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and control system installation. The project was an upgrade into a state of the art office facility with energy efficient mechanical systems and construction that reused building elements and materials to reduce waste products.

Construction was an intense coordination process with the Owner, Merritt Properties LLC, the commissioning agent, and the sub-contractors to build Green office space that maintained site cleanliness, safety, and environmentally friendly impacts to the existing area.

The HVAC system serving GE Capital space provides year-round temperature and ventilation that meets or exceeds all applicable code and industry standards as defined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE). The system utilizes high efficient rooftop units distributing air to fan powered variable air volume terminals. The rooftop units incorporate economizer cycles which constantly supply filtered air. Heating is supplied by high efficient hot water boilers housed in the boiler/pump room. The tenant heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system serving the building is monitored and controlled by a direct digital computer based control system. The control system automatically coordinates the function of all mechanical components to assure economical and reliable operation. The system may be monitored within the building and remotely for failures of equipment or operating criteria outside of pre-set levels.

The scope of the project consisted of providing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning for the new office. The ventilation system and air conditioning system is provided by the shell building rooftop units and new fan powered variable air volume terminal units. The supply air is distributed through insulated sheet metal ductwork. The fan powered terminal units were selected with high efficient ECM motors. Zoning of the office space was critical to provide efficient and cost effective solutions for GE Capital. Specialized spaces and offices that required independent environmental control were provided with this capability, while open areas and similar control zones were provided with control. In office areas with high personnel density profiles, carbon dioxide monitoring and control strategies were employed for premium indoor air quality potential.

The heating system for the shell building was designed to provide heating water to the terminal units for the supply of warm air to the spaces. The new tenant space terminal units are equipped with two row heating coils so we can maximize the heat output of the units while minimizing the demand for heating water quantities. The heating water is generated by two high efficient condensing type boilers.

The building automatic temperature control system monitors and controls every HVAC component in the building. The terminal units designed to provide the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in the office space was an extension of this system. We incorporated an advanced graphics package that utilizes three (3) dimensional layouts of equipment and floor plans to give the building owner sophisticated but straight forward control and monitoring of the office space environment.

Challenges to this $243,000 mechanical undertaking included coordinating the design and construction effort to meet the extremely aggressive schedule for GE Capital to occupy the space. Long lead items such as the fan powered terminal units were ordered during the design phase to ensure schedule completion. To meet the schedule, we had the ductwork and piping installation proceed as if the terminal units were in place. A coordinated effort between the general contractor, sprinkler contractor, electrical contractor, and mechanical contractor allowed the ceiling space to be clear where the terminal units were to be installed. The units shipped to the site at the same time the furniture for the occupants arrived. Planning and sequencing the installation of the furniture and the terminal units in the ceiling space and connecting ductwork, piping, power, and controls in concert with the start-up and balancing of the system was seamless. Units were installed and the furniture was placed without damage to either system.

LEED® requirements added additional tasks to the construction process including storage of materials off of direct contact with the floor, temporary capping of ductwork and terminal units to minimize debris entrainment, providing required filtration over the return openings, and specific leakage testing of our systems. Close coordination with all trades was critical to minimize dust and debris in construction practices.

As future tenant improvements occur, special attention must be given to maintaining a clean environment inside the building. Building in an occupied building has its challenges. Airtight partitions and filtration units which can pressurize specific sections of the building will be required. Advanced planning is currently underway.

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