New Look DOAS Units – less space, less noise, less cost

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Swegon GOLD RX: Air handling units with unbeatable advantages

GOLD enables designers to re-think system design. Its extra small footprint and ultra-low sound levels make it possible to place air handling units in non-traditional spaces such as in close proximity to occupied rooms. In addition to maximizing usable space, GOLD’s decentralized design also allows smaller plenums and shafts (smaller ducts), individual tenant metering, flexible tenant time scheduling and reduced sound and energy consumption. Combining both unit and controls optimization, GOLD provides unparalleled energy efficiency levels, reliable operation, and fast commissioning.

RX models include direct-driven supply air and return air fans, supply air and return air filters and rotary heat exchanger; up to 85% total energy recovery; air flows up to 16300 cfm; variable speed regulation of the rotor and cooling energy recovery.

Smallest Footprint 

The GOLD Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) unit has the smallest footprint in the market. Up to 40 sq.ft. per unit can be saved and converted to leasable area. There will be no problem getting GOLD to fit.

Lowest Operating Cost 

The GOLD has been designed to optimize the EC motors, unit specific fan design, and casing combination for a superb overall efficiency. This, coupled with wheel efficiencies of 85% and serviceability of the fan/motor and filters, delivers the lowest operating cost to the building owner.

ComfortImproved Occupant Comfort 

GOLD has the lowest overall sound power levels of any unit in its class. Units can be placed closer to the occupied space and your risk of a client complaint due to a sound problem is significantly reduced. In office buildings, GOLD helps improve employee effectiveness and attendance by improving IAQ and thermal comfort.


GOLD comes with integrated controls which have been installed in thousands of buildings across the globe. The controls are the brains behind the best-in-class efficiencies, providing unbeatable value of ease of specification, reliability, and total project cost.

Certified Passive House Component

The high energy efficiency and efficient heat recovery has awarded the GOLD RX (sizes 04-35 and 50) with a Passive House Certificate from the Passive House Institute. This makes GOLD globally unique as it is the first ventilation unit capable of high air flows (<5300 cfm) that fulfills the requirements of the passive house certification.

Learn more on the Swegon GOLD RX

Related Blog Post: Energy Efficient Make Up Air Units
More questions about Swegon GOLD RX:  





Project Snapshot: Ayer-Shirley High School | Thermal Composite – DOAS Units

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Project Name: Ayer-Shirley High School
 Architect: Symmes Maini & McKee Associates
Mechanical Engineer: Symmes Maini & McKee Associates
Mechanical Contractor: E. Armanti & Sons, Inc.
Equipment: 4 Dedicated Outdoor Air Handling Units
Manufacturer: Annexair
Size: 3,500, 5,500, 10,000 and 12,000 CFM
DAC Sales Engineer: Pat Will

Project Overview:

The towns of Ayer and Shirley, on Massachusetts’ northern border, faced precipitous student enrollment declines as a result of the closure of the Fort Devens military base a decade ago. The towns came together to form a new district and share resources, and also to maintain a critical enrollment mass.  Whereas the original 1960 building once housed over 1,000 students, the new grade 9-12 population was planned for 460 students. The Massachusetts School Building Authority prescribed a combined middle and high school. SMMA convinced the communities to rethink the logic of this assumption by thoroughly analyzing the physical attributes of the building, and then stepping back and master-planning the District’s entire portfolio of schools.

Designing for Educational Success

Small, undersized spaces on eight distinct levels separated by narrow corridors and an underutilized open air courtyard with isolated community use spaces and tiny lobbies divided the student body and after-hours public uses making the building hard to navigate and supervise. The poor condition and environment led to over 100 students choosing alternative, out-of-district school options. SMMA aimed to maximize opportunity for pupil and adult interactions, incorporating corridor learning commons; teacher planning centers; small group rooms and larger flexible classrooms, with four teaching surfaces; and flexible, mobile furniture systems into our design. The building has remained occupied during construction, requiring careful shifting of spaces to allow for seamless, uninterrupted education.


HVAC Highlights:

  • DOAS Units
  • GAS Heat
  • Enthalpy Wheels
  • Thermo-composite panel system

The units on the Ayer Shirley High School project were supplied by Annexair and incorporated their Thermo-composite panel system.  The design looked for replacement units that would weigh the same as original and provide 30% more capacity.  Weight was a key design factor.  The Annexair units are 30% lighter than traditional steel units.  So we were able to satisfy the design criteria with a lighter unit.  Additionally the units come with a lifetime warranty against corrosion.    Best of all they are the same cost as traditional steel units.

Take a look at the specification for key features.

UNIT HOUSING SPECIFICATION (Thermo-composite) The unit housing shall be no-through metal with 2’’ Thermo-Composite and foam panel construction – interior and exterior.  No-through metal construction will be inherent to all the component construction in the assembly.  All panels and access doors shall be double wall construction with R14 foam insulation for every 2” of construction.  All foam insulation must be Greenguard certified®. Unit casing will have no exterior condensation at interior AHU temperatures down to 43F while unit exterior conditions are maintained at 95 F dry bulb / 85 F wet bulb.  The panels shall be tested in accordance with SMACNA and ASHRAE 111 to have a deflection of no more than L/1150 at 10’’ and withstand air pressures up to 8” w.c with less than 1% leakage.  Fire resistance of the panel will be in compliance with UL 94.

Thermo-Composite panels shall be provided for the entire unit construction, including but not limited to, walls, doors, floors, roof, interior partitions, and electrical compartment.  The frame shall consist of anodized extruded aluminum profiles which incorporates a thermally broken construction; welded together for reinforcement and insulated for superior thermal performance.  Base structure shall be fully welded and have integral lifting lugs which can be removed once the unit is installed.  All roof and side wall seams shall be positively sealed to prevent water and air leakage.  Panels will be non-load bearing type.

Access doors shall be provided to all major components to facilitate quick and easy access. Access doors will be made from the same material as the unit casing and shall incorporate thermal break construction.

Annexair - Composite Panel - Picture1Unit shall have the entire exterior finished with a PVDF coating designed for UV resistance. Paint shall pass ASTM B117 3000-hour salt fog resistance test and ASTM D4585 3000-hour moisture condensation resistance test. In addition, paint must meet AAMA 620-02 standard for color, chalking, gloss retention, and abrasion resistance. The air handler unit casing shall be provided with a lifetime warranty against corrosion resistance under normal use.

Related Thermo-composite Panel Blog Post:

For More Information - askRick




Project Snapshot: Tufts University Central Energy Plant – Custom Air Tunnel

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Project Name:  Tufts Power Energy Plant
Owner:  Tufts University
Mechanical Engineer:  vanZelm Engineers
Mechanical Contractor:  J.C. Higgins Corp.
Equipment:  Custom Air Tunnel, Cooney Freeze Block Coil
Manufacturer:  Cambridgeport (CAS) Cooney Coil
DAC Sales Engineer:  David Goodman

Tufts University – Central Energy Plant 
Tufts University has built a new Co-Gen Central Energy Plant.  The new plant is located on Boston Avenue just south of Dowling Hall and will replace the aging, 60 year old existing plant.  The Central Energy Plant will provide electricity, steam, hot water for heating, and chilled water for cooling to the upper campus and the new Science and Engineering Complex.  This project is part of the University’s commitment to sustainability and modernization of their infrastructure.

DAC Sales Assisting with Custom Solution:
The plant was designed with two sets of air funnels both with heating coils with by-pass dampers.  One set is for the plant MUA and the other Combustion air for the Caterpillar Co-Gen.  David Goodman was providing the standard two row HW coils to J.C. Higgins but was also asked to provide the double wall panels and access doors.  These panels could only be designed and built after measuring the tunnel and deciding as a team how to assemble them around the tunnel beams, HW coils, fans, filters, sound attenuators and dampers.  The panel system was provided by CAS in Canton.  Having the panels made near the job site made it very fast to turn around sections as the components were set in place.

Addition of Cooney Freeze Block Coils:
As a part of an owner request, Cooney Freeze Block Coils were added to the project.   Cooney Coils provide the system with the highest level of protection against coil freeze up.  Advantages over standard coils include:

Cooney Freezeblock Coil

  • Expansion relief headers equipped with pressure and temperature sensing valves discharge a small amount of water as a coil begins to freeze
  • Valves are designed to reseat after discharging to prevent flooding after coil thaws
  • All coils and valves are pre-assembled and tested at the factory prior to shipping
  • Designed to dramatically reduce future maintenance, downtime, and premature coil failure
  • In many cases, eliminates the need for glycol which increases efficiency
  • All Cooney Freeze Block Coils come with a 3 year warranty


Some of the new facility’s features include:

  • A cogeneration plant, which will provide 4 MWs of power, reduce energy costs for the Medford campus by approximately 20%. The university is taking a fresh approach to greenhouse emission analysis to be posted in the near future.
  • Three new high-efficiency steam boilers, which will replace the less efficient boilers in the existing plant
  • Efficient chillers and cooling towers, which will provide air conditioning to the new Science and Engineering Complex, Tisch, and can be expanded to serve additional buildings in the future
  • Increased reliability of the electrical power supply to the Medford campus
  • A glass façade, which will allow the Tufts and Medford communities to see what is happening inside this modern facility
  • Landscaping with native plants


Related Blog Posts:

Freeze Block Coil Technology Based Systems
Custom Air Handling Unit Design | Desaturation Cooling Coil
Custom Air Handling Unit, Freeze Block Coils

For More Information - askRick



Project Snapshot: Gordon College – Pool Dehumidification Unit

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Project Name: Gordon College – Bennett Center
Owner: Gordon College
Mechanical Engineer: CSI Engineering
Mechanical Contractor: Merrimack Valley Corp.
Equipment: Pool Dehumidification Unit
Manufacturer: Seresco
Size: 24 Ton Modular 2-compressor 200 Series dehumidifier
DAC Sales Engineer: Craig Ashman

Gordon College – Bennett Center  The Gordon College Bennett Center is a 78,000-square-foot athletics and recreational sports facility. The center was completed in October 1996 and in 1997 won Athletic Business magazine’s Top Ten New Facilities Award for its design and usability.  Incorporated in the center is a Competition Swimming Pool.

The Problem:   The original Poolpak pool dehumidification unit was no longer functioning to dehumidify the pool space.  A new unit was required but space to access the mechanical room was very limited.  The replacement equipment would need to fit through existing access doors.

The Solution:   The replacement equipment was recommended by Seresco.  The manufacturer selected a 24 Ton Modular 2-compressor 200 Series dehumidifier.  This is a really clever concept developed by Seresco.  This ingenious innovation provides twice the dehumidification in the same footprint as a regular unit. It’s a compact, 2-stage system that provides scalable capacity and performance of two complete systems in one, controlled by a single, sophisticated brain.  The best part is that this system can be broken into two separate sections that fit through a 32″ doorway.  This was the answer to a very difficult problem.

Gordon college 020

Additional Features:  

  • Glycol Cooled A/C by a Fluid Cooler –  About 40% of the units Seresco provides use fluid coolers in lieu of Refrigerant Based ACCU’s.  This is a standard product offering in their Protocol Line of Pool Dehumidification Units.  In the Pool Dehumidification Unit Seresco provides a heat exchanger and a pumping package. In the heat exchanger the refrigerant loop dumps the rejected heat to a glycol loop. It is then pumped to the Fluid Cooler on the roof. Piping is PVC from the Pool Dehumidification Unit to the Fluid Cooler. The Fluid Cooler distance can be nearly anything (600 feet is not a problem).
  • WebSentry –  This application was also equipped with WebSentry,  Seresco’s online monitoring, reporting and service optimization tool.  The 24-7 WebSentry monitoring then allows Seresco to remotely monitor over 100 performance parameters of the dehumnidifer using sophisticated algorithms to analyze and identify potential issues and maintenance requirements, long before they become potential problems.

Design Advantages: There are many reasons why this type of application makes a lot of sense.

  • 45 to 171 lbs. per hour of moisture removal and 3,000 to 16,000 CFM of air handling in the absolute smallest footprint possible
  • Seresco model 214, which can actually fit through a 32 inch doorway delivers up to 79 lbs. per hour of moisture 6,800 CFM
  • Fully modular system – 2 compressors, 2 supply air fans, 2 cabinets in one package
  • Can be easily split at the job site into two pieces for retrofit in existing buildings – just a wire harness to connect, no refrigeration piping is affected
  • Can have a single phase 12 ton system
  • 2-sided service access for tight installations
  • Horizontal and Vertical configurations
  • Flexible supply air openings – multiple openings also possible
  • WebSentry® Internet monitoring and control
  • Touch screen CommandCenter® control systems
  • Premium compressor protection
  • Premium corrosion resistance

Related Blog Posts:

Indoor Pool Design: Reducing Refrigerant Charge by 85%
Pool Unit Design: WebSentry – 24/7 Factory Monitoring
Indoor Pool Design: Part 1 of 4 – Confirming Owner Expectations
Indoor Pool Design: Part 2 of 4 – Load Calculation

For More Information - askRick






Project Snapshot: Amalie Arena – Home to the Tampa Bay Lightning

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Amalie Arena - PictureProject Name:   Amalie Arena Tower Air Handling Unit Replacement

Location:   Tampa Bay, Florida

Project type, building type:   Sports Complex

Equipment:  Wrap Around dehumidification heat Pipes

Manufacturer:  Heat Pipe Technology

Engineering challenges

Before Heat Pipe Technology’s involvement, the arena’s ice quality was ranked near the bottom among NHL arenas. This was largely due to the Tampa Bay area climate, where high humidity makes it difficult to create and maintain top-quality ice, which requires dry air. Before HPT arrived, the Amalie Arena was generating around 60% relative humidity (at 65°F) when the NHL recommended 40% relative humidity at 60°F, with a dew point of 36°F.


After rejecting a roof-top gas-heat desiccant system as costly and bulky, Amalie Arena installed HPT’s wrap-around Dehumidification Heat Pipes (DHPs). The DHPs use a proprietary system commonly installed in large-scale HVAC applications that require lower humidity, such as hotels, universities, specialty manufacturing, and hospitals.

HPT’s DHPs, which have no moving parts and require little maintenance, use the “phase change” of the working fluid in Amalie Arena’s HVAC system to precool outside air before it enters the cooling coil and reheat the air exiting the cooling coil using recovered heat. This reduces the load on the cooling coil, while lowering the dew point. HPT’s modeling shows that its DHPs remove close to 350 total tons from the cooling load, and roughly four million Btus per hour of reheat, which is necessary to maintain comfortable conditions for over 20,000 fans. This will save the Amalie Arena an estimated $600,000 per year in energy costs.

“Not only did the heat pipe solution allow us to keep all construction inside the existing mechanical rooms and off the roof, greatly reducing first costs,” said Mike Tappouni, of Tappouni Mechanical Services, “but it allowed us to reduce overall energy consumption as well, despite the need for colder water from the chillers. In addition, the reduction in maintenance cannot be understated. It literally went from a maintenance nightmare to a dream.”

About Heat Pipe Technology

Heat Pipe Technology, a division of MiTek®, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is the innovation leader in passive energy recovery and dehumidification systems for commercial and industrial applications around the globe. Employing the very latest in passive-heat-transfer technology, Heat Pipe Technology designs and supplies the core energy recovery technologies to the world’s leading commercial air-handling equipment manufacturers. More info:

Blog post materials provided by:

Media Contact: John D. Wagner  919-796-9984


For More Information - askRick





Freeze Block Coil – Technology Based Solutions

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A Freeze Block Coil is the Best Way to Prevent Frozen Coil Damage

Freeze damage is the leading cause of premature HVAC coil failure. Frozen fluid coils can result in severe damage to the coil, system downtime, expensive repairs and/or replacement and in some cases flood damage throughout the building. This is a new coil that we are looking at to help in our custom AHU designs.  The Cooney Freeze Block Coil is designed specifically to protect HVAC coils from freeze-related damages.

Learn more on the Freezeblock coil:  Freezeblock Coil Video
Related Blog Post: Custom Air Handling Unit Design | Desaturation Cooling Coil
More questions about Freezeblock Coils;  





Energy-Efficient Makeup Air Units

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Topic: Energy-Efficient Makeup Air Units
Guest Blogger: Hugh Crowther, P.ENG., Ashrae Member

Unless you live in paradise, delivering makeup air to most buildings is expensive.  Table 1 shows the amount of work it takes to heat and cool air (based on Chicago  conditions) for a standard rooftop unit (a unit that recirculates air with typical air conditioning loads) and a makeup air (MUA) unit. Note the standard unit conditions represent 400 cfm/ton (53.68 L/[s·kW]) with 80°F dry bulb/67°F wet bulb (26.7°C dry bulb/19.4°C wet bulb) return air conditions. It can be seen that a MUA unit requires more than twice the cooling and five times the heating work as a standard unit.



For many HVAC solutions a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) is required such as variable refrigerant flow systems (VRF), ground source heat pumps (GSHP), and chilled beams (Figure 1).


Many process applications (labs, industrial processes, garages, etc.) also require makeup air (MUA) systems. All these applications require some form of make up air unit that can move and filter outdoor air as well as heat and cool (depending on location and application).  Since these units consume significant energy in most applications, a discussion on how to improve their efficiency is warranted.

A basic MUA unit has to meet certain minimum performance requirements:

• 80% efficient (indirect fired) gas heat1 (assuming a gas heat unit);
• 10 EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio)2 if DX cooling is required;
• Fan performance is generally marginalized but is accounted in the unit EER requirement (assuming there is cooling); and
• Basic wall construction called out in the product specification. A basic unit is typically single wall, 0.5 to 1 in. (13 to 25 mm) fiberglass insulation.  To move beyond a basic unit, four areas of improvement will be considered: gas heat, DX cooling, fan performance, and casing performance (Figure 2). The energy usage calculations are based on a 10,000 cfm (4700 L/s) MUA unit in Chicago. The cost3 of gas is $0.79/therm and electricity is $0.10 kWh. The carbon dioxide (CO2)
equivalent conversion4 for natural gas is 0.510 CO2e lb/kWh (0.232 kg/kWh) and for electricity is 1.670 CO2e lb/kWh (0.758 kg/kWh). Calculations are based on 24/7 operation.

See remainder of article at: Energy-Efficient Makeup Air Units


For More Information - askRick





Pumped Glycol Energy Recovery | Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

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Topic: High Performance Run Around Energy Recovery Systems
Guest Blogger: Rudolf Zaengerle, Ph. D. Konvekta USA, Inc

There is some confusion about the terms ‘efficiency’ and ‘effectiveness’:

  1.  Efficiency
    ASHRAE defines ‘temperature transfer efficiency’ (or sometimes ‘enthalpy transfer efficiency’ if enthalpy is used instead of temperature) as follows:

μT = (TE1 – TE2) / (TE1 – TS1)

with the temperatures:

Pumped Glycol - Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

In a strict sense, this definition can only be applied if supply and exhaust air volumes are equal. The shortcomings of this definition is that it only looks at one operating point, doesn’t take into account the electric power an energy recovery system consumes, and usually doesn’t take frost protection at low OAT into account.
Konvekta coils, depending on the specific design, will have a ‘temperature transfer efficiency’ of anywhere 55-90%. In US projects, where the LAT off the supply air handler usually is ‘only’ 55F, the coils typically are designed in the range of 58-68% because the additional annual energy savings with higher efficiency coils is marginal, as the system is limited to 55F LAT all shoulder season long (3,000+ hours/year in Boston).

2. Effectiveness
‘Annual Net Effectiveness’ is defined as:
{Annual Heating and Cooling energy input in supply air from recovery coils} /
{Total annual heating and cooling input in supply air + annual electric consumption due to fan power for recovery coils and glycol pump}

and ‘Annual Heating Effectiveness’:
{Annual heating energy from recovery coils} / {total annual heat input in supply air}

This effectiveness heavily depends on the annual climate of where the system is installed and the operating pattern of the system (night/weekend turn-down, VAV, LAT set point, etc.). Konvekta systems installed in the USA have proven/measured the following annual heating effectiveness:
HVCC: 70.3% (3 years of operation)
UMass Boston: 83.2% (1 year of operation)
George Mason University: 79.7% (3 years)
Medical Examiner Building Edmonton: 78.5% (2 years)

For some systems that have started-up this fall or will start-up early next year (William & Mary, Yale, Georgia State), we expect (guaranteed) annual heating effectiveness of at least 85+%, some in the low 90%, due to the high temperature transfer efficiency they have been designed with.

For further information – reference white paper published by Rudolf Rudolf Zaengerle:
High-Performance Run Around Energy Recovery Systems in Cold Climate Zones?

Related Project Snapshots:
Project Snapshot | Dartmouth College – Konvekta System
Project Snapshot | UMass Boston – Integrated Science Complex
Project Snapshot | Hudson Valley CC – Konvekta System

For More Information - askRick







EC Motor Fan Arrays

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EC Motor Fan ArrayWe are using electronically commutated (EC) motors more frequently in our custom air handling unit designs. Most recently we have started working with a company that provides a complete package.

We now work with Q-PAC to provide an array of direct drive plenum fans with integral EC motors. Their arrays offer superior energy efficiency and flexible, low-footprint application.  Each array features simplified power and control connections. Our single point panel features an integral disconnect, individual motor protection, and control terminals.  These terminals are arranged for single speed, enable, and alarm contacts for Building Automation System interface. Replacement parts for all standard Q-PAC arrays are in stock in North America.


Efficiency Benefits:
•  Eliminates need for VFDs and costly wiring and controls
•  Highly efficient at full load, and extremely efficient at part load, compared to standard fans

Dimensional Benefits:
•  Completely variable aspect ratio
•  Fans can be staggered to fit in any configuration
•  Low length footprint, fan sections are less than 25” in length
•  Vertical and horizontal configurations

Ease of Operation:
•  Zero maintenance operation
•  Simple 0-10 VDC signal input for speed control
•  Quiet operation, very low vibration
•  Lightweight fans are interchangeable by hand

Operational Features:
•  Optional backdraft or motorized dampers
•  Hand/Off/Auto (HOA) switch on single point power panel

EC Motor Fan Array

The ECM array provides not only an energy efficient central fan, but provides redundancy with easy to replace multiple fans. The motors also have a longer life cycle and take up less space than traditional fans. A potential candidate for an ECM array in a large building central air handling systems could be a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) with the primary air distribution sized for low pressure drop, and ECM fan powered terminal units as well. A facility with such a system would be capable of turning down the central air system to closely match only what the terminal units need for primary air; even if it’s just one terminal unit calling.


Related Blog Posts:

Project Snapshot: WCCC UMass Data Center | Custom Air Handling Units
7 Reasons to use ECM Motors

More Questions on EC Motor Fan Arrays?






Project Snapshot: BU Photonics | Strobic Lab Exhaust Fan – Upgrade

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Project Overview:

The Boston University Photonics Center is a building and research center owned by Boston University. The 10-floor 235,000 sq ft (21,800 m2) building opened in June 1997, finished at a cost of $78.4 million. The center specializes in developing and commercializing new products for the photonics industry, spanning the fields of biomedical engineering, nanoscience, physics, astronomy, and chemistry.

Strobic Air Tri-Stack Fan Systems were an integral part of the original design.  Two separate systems were provided in the design.

Project Name: Boston University Photonics Center
Mechanical Engineer: Engineered Solutions Inc.
General Contractor: Austin Services
Equipment: High Plume Dilution Fan Systems
Manufacturer: Strobic Air / Cambridgeport Air Systems
Size: Two 68,000 CFM Systems
DAC Sales Contact: David Goodman

BU-Photonics – Original

Original System Challenges:

  • The expansion of labs over the past 15 years required the Stand-by fan to be run on each 4 fan set.  Additional capacity was needed.
  • 1 of the 8 motors had been replaced requiring a crane pick, and the others nearing the end of their life.
  • The original plenum was also showing its age and was a painted Galv single wall and Isolation dampers were in-operable or leaking.
  • Original fan sets were run at full speed at all times.


New System Highlights:

BU Photonics - Upgrade

BU Photonics – Upgrade

  • The new fan systems are on VFDs and again maintain the building with 3 fans running at less than 50 Hz and saving energy.
  • Fans are self-supported with in-line sound attenuators to be very close to original height above roof line.
  • The new double wall plenum was locally made by CAS Custom Air Solutions with Aluminum skin and SS liner.
  • The new plenum design also features a removable gantry crane attachment designed to lift and move nozzle and silencer for motor service, should it ever be required.


If you have questions about the application,  feel free to ask us.





Related Blog Posts:
High Plume Dilution Fans | What is a High Plume Dilution Fan?
High Plume Dilution Fans | 3 Key Design Questions
High Plume Dilution Fans | Introducing the Strobic Air Smart Fan Control System