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Berks Technical Institute

The Background

large hailstonesReading, Pennsylvania, was struck by a severe hailstorm that left extensive property damage throughout the region. The maintenance team at Berks Technical Institute discovered that their rooftop units had suffered severe damage from the storm and called Oliver Mechanical to assess the impact and recommend a solution.



The damage to the rooftop units warranted replacement, and the Oliver Mechanical team proceeded to assess the current needs for the space to ensure that the new units would work efficiently to keep staff and students comfortable. During the evaluation, the team learned that the capacity of the existing systems had been determined in the early 1980’s.

old computer

Remember these?

At that point in time, each classroom was designed for 30 students working at a personal desktop computer, and was lit by fluorescent T-12 bulbs. As technology evolved, the T-12 lights had been replaced with more efficient T-8 tubes and students now work on laptop computers in smaller groups of 15-20. All of these changes reduced the heat output of each classroom to the extent that the current cooling load is up to 150 tons lower than the damaged units’ output.

In addition to the changing cooling load of the space, the team found a faulty Control System that had been previously installed and disconnected in 2009. The client’s interest in a complex wide control system had been stymied by incomplete training on the system’s abilities and limitations.

Proposed Solutions

The Oliver Mechanical team recommended replacing the rooftop units with units of reduced tonnage to match the current cooling needs of the space. To complete the replacement of the units, the team proposed modifying the existing ductwork to match the capacity of the new units.

In addition to these modifications, the team proposed a new Control System for the entire complex to help the client manage the buildings more efficiently.

The Outcome

The customer accepted the team’s full proposal for unit replacement, duct modification, and installation of controls. As part of the replacement, two 20-ton units were removed completely from the roof. After installing the new controls system, the Oliver Mechanical team completed an Air Balancing of the entire space to ensure maximum comfort and efficiency.

What Did the Customer Think?

Since the completion of this project, the building’s energy consumption has been reduced by 30%. In addition to the ongoing energy savings, the client appreciated Oliver Mechanical’s assistance in negotiations with their insurance carrier for the unit replacement due to storm damage.

Have Your Building's Needs Changed Over Time?

As your business grows and changes, the impact on the building environment is a subtle factor that’s easily overlooked in the planning process. Our team looks at each technical challenge in context of the full building and how it’s used.  And because we know there are lots of situations that come up where it’s just helpful to talk it through with someone, we’re offering a free 30-minute consultation phone call with one of our senior technical advisors to any building or property manager who could use a sounding board on a technical issue. You can request an appointment using the calendar below – go ahead, try it out!

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