(4/26)  An Intelligent Solution for Mechanical Systems

Rochester Board of Education

Our team recently discovered a report issued by The United States Government Accountability Office, which outlined a problem affecting much of the country: aging facilities – specifically, educational, healthcare and VA healthcare facilities. As these facilities age, so does their infrastructure, and one of the most vital components affected is the central plant mechanical system (chilled water, hot water, steam), which has an effective service life of 30 years. Unfortunately, these facilities are typically much older and have not been adequately updated. For example, the average age of educational facilities is 40 years. The average age of selected healthcare facilities receiving public funding is more than 35 years. Worse yet, the average age of VA healthcare facilities is over 60 years. The problem has been exacerbated by budget cuts and shortfalls over the past seven years, which restrict or delay the ability to make upgrades.

Many of these facilities are considered to be ‘fully utilized’, which means that they are at, or over, capacity. There has been minimal construction since 2008, providing little relief from overcrowding. You can’t simply add more desks or beds when there’s no room for expansion. This also means there is little or no space for occupant relocation during demolition and renovation.

When renovations and additions are made, overruns are commonplace. This unfortunate reality results in significant contingency added to projects. The average VA cost overrun on major projects is $366MIL, and the average schedule overrun on VA projects is 35 months.

The Solution
The FCS engineers have come up with an intelligent, cost-effective approach to addressing the above problems:  modular mechanical rooms, or MMRs. These are integrated, turn-key systems consisting of: chillers or boilers, cooling towers, pumps, electrical and controls, interstitial piping and specialties. Everything is on a common skid, fully enclosed and conditioned, and placed outside of the building envelope.

MMRs are designed and fabricated to provide a complete, integrated equipment solution based on client load requirements. Equipment is sized, selected and sourced by a single supplier and fabricated off-site in controlled conditions – no schedule overruns due to weather or other field factors. Additionally, they provide a smaller footprint than the mechanical equipment room they replace.

Installation is relatively easy because there are single point tie-ins for hot water, chilled water and electrical.

MMR Components

MMRs are the optimal solution for aging facilities, allowing building occupants to reclaim valuable space previously occupied by mechanical equipment. Because the equipment is placed outside of the building envelope, there is minimal impact on tenants.

Since they are designed and built by one supplier, just one phone call is needed for support or issue resolution. The price and schedule are set at the time of order, so there is no cost overrun and schedule integrity remains intact. Since tying into the existing system can be accomplished in hours, there is no downtime for tenants when the system is installed.

Towers can be mounted on top of the enclosure for additional space savings. This is never an option with conventional mechanical rooms.

Best of all MMRs can be obtained at a lower cost than comparable conventional, on-site fabricated solutions – typically, 15-20% lower.

The time, space and money savings all add up to MMRs being a logical solution.

Contact us today to learn more about how they’ll benefit you or your customers: sales@fluidcoolingsystems.com

Modular mechanical room onsite next to cooling tower


Data Source: United States Government Accountability Office – Report to the Chairman, Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, House of Representatives. http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653585.pdf

Photography and SolidWorks Rendering Courtesy of Fluid Cooling Systems