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Taco's LoadMatch® System Helps Provide Maximum Indoor Comfort for New College Pharmacy Building

Latest News > Case Studies

D'Youville College in Buffalo, NY, a 102-year old private school named in honor of Catholic Saint Marguerite D'Youville, has expanded its healthcare degree offerings to include pharmacy studies. Students majoring in Pharmacy arrived in September 2010 to take their classes in a brand new $23 million, seven-story building which contains lecture halls and classrooms as well as offices for the Dean of the School of Pharmacy and the college's admissions department. Students and faculty enjoy fully controlled indoor comfort provided by an innovative HVAC system that combines Florida Heat Pumps with Taco's single pipe LoadMatch® system.

John W. Danforth, one of the largest mechanical contractor firms in the country, is also a design-build firm, so the company has considerable experience in designing HVAC systems on its own. Ed Cudney, Danforth's Design Build Manager, and his design team decided to combine LoadMatch circulators and Twin Tees with the heat pumps, as this provided cost savings based on the elimination of the secondary pipe typically associated with a conventional loop piping design.

Initially, the challenge for acceptance of such a system was that the college's Vice President for Operations, Don Keller had not heard of the LoadMatch system before. "I was a little skeptical at first," says Keller, "because LoadMatch is not the typical kind of heat pump system I'm used to. But the extensive redesign and review process conducted by Danforth convinced me that this system made eminent sense. I discovered that it would not only meet our needs but would do so very cost effectively. Their design gave me everything I have in the other buildings on campus. So I told them, 'Let's go with it.'"

What helped convince Don Keller about the LoadMatch system was the design provided by Danforth that originated with Taco's proprietary system design software program, Hydronic Systems Solution (HSS). Part of Taco's System Design Suite of software applications, HSS is a nifty tool for designing commercial hydronic systems, including LoadMatch. The software allows engineers to size pipe and equipment, automatically calculate total loads and flows, and select and schedule equipment. As changes are made, as they inevitably are, the software automatically recalculates. Designers who have used the HSS software report that it saved them considerable man-hours and reduced calculation errors in comparison to more traditional CAD drawing means.

Before being introduced to the Taco LoadMatch system and the HSS software, design-build engineers like Danforth's Bob Praties would have used AutoCAD. But with Taco's assistance he used the HSS software through 12 design revisions over a 30-day period. The time savings, he reports, were significant: "HSS really works well, says Bob. "The program was able to supply us back with the information we wanted without having to manually calculate every piece and part and temperature drop. Because the software automatically calculated all the parameters, it saved us a lot of time. We were able to select our equipment in a faster manner."

Praties also cites the benefits that smart software, like HSS, provides to firms like Danforth in the design phase when the job may still be competitive: "Using HSS we can produce a nice document that we can present and sell to an owner for a system like LoadMatch. We can show him exactly what we'd be supplying and what he'll be getting, instead of just talking to him over a hand sketch. HSS allows us to give him a finalized document containing all the parameters and temperatures."

Using HSS Praties was able to design a temperature drop of 10° – 8° Delta T for the 70° F heating loop, which directly influenced the capacity required by the heat pumps installed on all seven floors of the pharmacy school building. Heat pump capacity had to be matched to the length of the pipe runs. To accommodate the pressure drop, the pipe lengths required some tweaking.

The HVAC system, located in the building's basement, includes two Patterson Kelly natural gas condensing boilers (2 million BTUs each with 90-percent efficiency) along with Taco advanced hydronics products – FI pumps, Multi-Purpose Valves for system balancing, a 4900 Series Air/Dirt separator to keep the system clean from air and sediment buildup, and expansion tanks. The Danforth installation crew was particularly impressed with the Taco 4900 Series separator and the fact that it didn't require any set-up due to the fact that it comes with a factory installed automatic vent on top.

Piping elements throughout the building are secured by Victaulic supplied elbows, couplings and pipe hangers. On the building's roof Danforth's crew installed a heat pump recovery system with a make-up air unit for energy conservation, supplied by Addison, and a Baltimore Air Coil cooling tower.

There are 72 Florida Heat Pumps located throughout the ceilings of the building's floors, each containing one LoadMatch circulator. Each heat pump is also equipped with a reversing valve to alternately serve the heat and cold water loop. Danforth prefabricated the heat pumps and circulator piping at their Buffalo fabrication facility by mounting and wiring the circulators prior to delivery to the jobsite.

Installation of the system was accomplished by a three-man Danforth crew working at the construction site from April 1, 2010 to August 1, 2010. The crew started up the first heat pump on January 12, 2010, and the warm air blowing out of it was especially welcome at that time of year in Buffalo. Although Danforth had not dealt with the LoadMatch system prior to the D'Youville College project, it proved to be an "easy install," according to Jeff Garwol, Danforth Project Manager. "Compared to a typical two-pipe heat pump system, LoadMatch is a lot simpler to use and was easy to explain to our foreman."

Taco's LoadMatch system is an innovative method to distribute water in hydronic systems. It replaces the conventional two-pipe hydronic system, which can be imprecise, cumbersome and require endless adjustments, with a one-pipe system that eliminates most balancing valves and expensive, energy consuming control valves by replacing them with energy efficient, low kW LoadMatch circulators. LoadMatch assures regulated flow to all heating and cooling units; all loads operate separately from one another, and the secondary flow that circulates through each terminal unit is independent of the system's primary distribution pumps.

The family of LoadMatch circulators include a removable integral Flow Check (IFC®) that prevents unwanted gravity flows and reduces installation costs. All LoadMatch circulators have an Anti-Condensate Baffle to prevent unwanted condensation in chilled water systems and a design working pressure of 200 psi, making them suitable for medium and high rise construction without having to install hydraulically isolated subsystems.

The D'Youville pharmacy building's indoor comfort has an energy management system tied into a campus-wide EMS system provided by Building Controls & Services. Heating, cooling and lighting for individual rooms in the building can be controlled for occupancy to achieve utmost energy efficiency and comfort.

"The Pharmacy Building is unique because its design allows me to control each and every unit at any time of day or night," explains Leonard Oseekey, D'Youville College's Director of Facilities. "Since the building is used all the time – days, nights and over the weekend – I can schedule any room at any time for any temperature."

The School of Pharmacy occupies five of the building's seven floors. The top floor is currently unused and can be brought into service as college expansion warrants. The School of Pharmacy building is the latest addition to the D'Youville campus; in the past five years the school has constructed or rehabbed half a dozen buildings on campus. D'Youville College, which has a student population of around 3,000, has traditionally focused on preparing its students for careers in education and healthcare, with degree offerings in specialties such as nursing, physical therapy, chiropractic and now pharmacy.

Danforth has a full coverage maintenance contract for the building going forward. Danforth's Jeff Garwol doesn't foresee any problems cropping up with the HVAC system, which will be independently commissioned so that the project can qualify for New York State Energy Research & Development Authority's (NYSERDA) utility program. The presence of the LoadMatch system helps the project qualify for a cash refund based on energy efficiency.

"Because there's only one pipe," says Jeff, "it will be easy to trace down any problems or issues in the system throughout the building." Asked to give his opinion of the LoadMatch system, considering this was a first time use for his company, he offers this: "LoadMatch saved us a lot of labor time and money on materials. I was introduced to the system at the estimate time, and at the beginning there was a little bit of skepticism on our part, since this was not the typical system that we've installed in the past. But because it was a new system approach, it was exciting for us. Being a young engineer and evaluating the LoadMatch system for the first time, I looked at the design and the data and it all made sense. It turned out to be a great install."

According to Ed Cudney, "One of the key factors in the successful install and operation of the LoadMatch system was the time spent up-front when creating installation documents. We all worked as a team, and to get a better understanding of the LoadMatch system and how it works, and good installation practice, we visited the Taco factory and met with their technical staff. This provided us with good "do's & don't's" when installing the system. At Danforth, we know that when you commission a project early, we use less material, less labor, and the systems are simpler to install. And they work!"

Information provided by D'Youville College, John W. Danforth Company and Taco, Inc.