Mechanical Engineering & Construction Corporation (MEC²) – Office Headquarters

HVAC and Plumbing System

The MEC² Office Headquarters project involved renovation construction of the existing 50,000 sq. ft. former 7UP® bottling facility in Catonsville, MD into the new home offices for the mechanical contracting, engineering, and service company. MEC² was the contractor responsible for the mechanical system design and installation.

The project’s scope consisted of a building renovation while maintaining interesting existing components of the original building. The roof was improved with increased insulation, as well as the existing exterior walls; upgraded high efficient thermal glazing was added. The facility incorporates the original 1920’s structure which is an open format including a 40-foot peak. Therefore, in-slab radiant heating was selected for the lower level of the facility to heat the building where the occupants work and minimize waste heating which often occurs in open tall structures. The in-slab radiant heating is supplied by a high-efficient condensing boiler system. The cooling of the open lower level is accomplished by utilizing (2) high-efficient packaged roof top units distributing air through exposed spiral ductwork to keep an original industrial feel to the newly renovated work spaces. The upper level and support spaces are served by a heat recovery VRF (variable refrigerant flow) heat pump system coupled with energy recovery ventilators providing the required ventilation outdoor air. The VRF system is energy efficient and provides the required zoning for the enclosed office areas. The individual fan coil units are designed to maintain appropriate temperature control and also dehumidification control to maintain moisture levels in the spaces. The project was a complete new fit-out; an existing HVAC system did not exist. The HVAC system provides year-round temperature and ventilation that meets or exceeds all applicable code and industry standards as defined by the ASHRAE. The system is equipped with a free cooling economizer for ventilation air when no mechanical cooling is required. The HVAC system’s efficiency qualifies for the maximum energy tax credits allowable by the federal government.

Challenges to this undertaking included the construction effort of building and sequencing multiple sub-contractors in tight spaces for a short time period and continually dealing with the unknowns of the construction renovation of an old facility (such as underground ammonia storage tanks). Much of the foundation needed to be re-worked to ensure the required moisture barrier. So, drain tile was added to the interior and exterior of the facility. The office portion of the facility did have a sanitary connection; therefore, a new extension was installed. The utilities needed to be completely upgraded with new water service and sprinkler piping as well as a new gas service installed.

MEC² provided a complete turn-key installation including the HVAC, electrical and lighting systems, and the general construction requirements of renovating an old defunct facility into a new and vibrant place of business that looks and has the feel that a premier office environment requires. The project was completed in less than five months.

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