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Civic Center, Walnut Creek

When it came time to replace the aging and inefficient Chillers and Water Towers for the Civic Executive Center in Walnut Creek, the Mechanical Engineer (for both the original and retrofit systems) recommended Bay Air Systems. He knew the job would be most challenging, some would say "impossible". He had witnessed Bay Air's innovative results numerous times and came to believe our mantra: "For Bay Air, the difficult is no problem; the impossible just takes a little longer".

Our first challenge was getting huge equipment, including two 20,000 lbs Chillers and two 125 ton capacity Towers, out of two separate penthouses which were built around them. Enlarging the Tower discharge opening through the roof allowed enough room to angle the tower sections out and in. Structural calcs confirmed that (with super-duty foot rollers) we could move the Chiller and extract it in the same manner out of the same opening. Of course, it required the largest hydro crane in Northern California!

Another challenge was to not interrupt comfort for the tenants. So we scheduled the work to be done 1 year apart for each penthouse, so it could be accomplished strictly during low load winter months. However, each chiller served separate halves of the building so our customer was prepared to rent a temporary chiller twice for the duration of our work. This would be parked in their tenants parking lot with huge unsightly hoses running across the glass skin of the building to the roof. They had already budgeted the $40-50,000 cost for each of the two winters required.

Bay Air suggested an alternative: "Let's permanently install four PVC insulated CHWS/R pipes across the roof the 200 feet between these Penthouses to connect these 2 Chiller systems together with a bypass. Except for the hottest summer days, one chiller has enough capacity to keep the entire building comfortable." Our customer approved this alternative which cost only $17,000 (once) and gave them an added benefit. Later that first year, when the old Chiller went down and took a week to repair, we quickly opened this bypass, and the tenants never noticed. This bypass piping still serves to connect both systems to the operating Chiller, providing redundancy were there was none before.

Now the entire building enjoys new technology screw compressors, Hi Efficiency towers and pumps, and VFD controlled motors, all leading to unprecedented reliability and energy efficiency.

Bay Air achieved the impossible on time and under budget. (This time it didn't even "take a little longer".)

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