Case studies

May 1, 2002
Case Studies

Pipe restoration: Failing piping system replaced on time and on budget

ACE DuraFlo Systems

The Zela Davis Elementary School in Hawthorne, Calif., originally was constructed in the 1940s. The materials used in the domestic water system primarily were galvanized pipe with some copper updates. The piping system was failing with pinhole leaks, rusty water and reduced water flow. In order to repipe the facility, the school needed to be closed during the construction, students needed to be relocated, asbestos had to be removed, and walls had to be repaired; all would put a considerable strain on the school budget.

ACE DuraFlo Systems' challenge was to complete the in-place pipe restoration of the domestic water piping systems that serviced the nine buildings and the associated underground network of pipes, joining it all together. Adding to the challenge, the project had to be completed, from start to finish, during the scheduled school closure.

The restoration included service to all fixtures tied to the domestic water system in all nine buildings. The fixtures that required attention included drinking fountains, water closets, sinks, hose cabinets, urinals, the commercial kitchen equipment, classroom sinks and janitorial sinks.

The piping system was fully restored on time and on budget. Upon return to classes, the staff and student body did not even realize that the restoration had been completed.

Energy efficiencies: Window film saves energy cost and improves comfort

V-Kool, Inc.

A structure's need for cooling and heating is more than 30 percent dependent on the amount of heat that enters through the windows. By blocking heat, not light, spectrally selective film can reduce heat, save energy and lower air-conditioning loads without darkening building interiors or changing a building's aesthetic appearance.

Among measures taken to improve energy efficiency at Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., is the installation of clear, V-Kool spectrally selective applied window film in 17 academic and administrative buildings. The university's primary reason for choosing window film was for heat-loading and occupant comfort. The university wanted a product that has high light transmission and heat-load reduction.

V-Kool, previously marketed as Solis, has been applied to selected south-, west- and east-facing facades on Stanford buildings totaling 1.2 million square feet. The energy payback is from three to four years, depending on the building, electricity rate and the weather.

Conventional mirrored and tinted window films do block some solar heat, but cannot transmit high levels of light. Spectrally selective film freely transmits visible daylighting while blocking the near infrared and UV portions of the sun's spectrum. Tinted films may reduce heat gain but darken building interiors; spectrally selective film is virtually clear and does not change the color of the existing glass.

The applied window film installed at Stanford has a daylight transmission of 70 percent and a shading coefficient of 0.51; the higher the daylight transmission, the more light passes through, and the lower the shading coefficient, the lower the solar heat gain.

Classroom space: Modular construction gets charter school up and running

GE Capital Modular Space

Newark, one of Delaware's largest cities, needed an educational alternative for middle-school students. There was not a public middle school within a 10-mile radius of the greater-Newark area. In July 1999, a number of parents in the community came together and decided to start a local school, Newark Charter School. It would offer their children an education combining scholarship, good citizenship and creativity.

To get the doors open by fall 2001, parents turned to GE Capital Modular Space (GECMS), a provider of modular and mobile space solutions, for a facility that would meet their immediate needs. The $1.2 million project consisted of two factory-built buildings that are about 68 feet by 142 feet in size. Each complex has nine to 10 classrooms, two offices, a teacher's lounge, a reception area and restrooms. Together, the buildings offered 19,584 square feet.

In 60 days, the brand-new structures were complete. Modules were installed on the school's temporary site in time for the charter's August deadline. It mirrors the floor plan of a typical school building with classrooms off a long hallway. Because of its speed and flexibility, modular construction was ideal for this charter school, especially since it is pre-designed to meet state and local zoning requirements. It also can be less expensive and time-consuming than conventional construction methods.

Fire-rated glazing: Glazing materials meet standards for fire and impact, while maintaining aesthetics


The challenge to balance form and function presented itself in Chicago, home of the Walter Payton College Prep High School. Architects for the school needed a glass product that would visually open up hallways and complement the architectural design, while at the same time meet stringent fire codes.

Built in 1999, the school is equipped with an astronomy lab, a greenhouse and a multimedia room that allows students to virtually interact with other classrooms all over the world through high-definition televisions, digital cameras and the Internet.

Historically, school architects across the country have specified polished wired glass in educational buildings. In applications where aesthetics are important, the wired glass can create an undesirable “institutional” feel. Yet, wired glass is a low-impact product and growing concern about potential injuries due to breakage has caused many school districts to seek alternatives.

Ceramic is known for its ability to withstand intense heat. Used with a heat-resistant polymer interlayer, products are available in a transparent format the look like ordinary window glass. Walter Payton College Prep High School chose FireLite Plus, which incorporates a plastic interlayer made of Dyneon THV Fluorothermoplastic and offers the added benefit of high-impact safety.

The corridors and doorways in which the FireLite product was used were given one-hour fire ratings.

Computer theft: Computer tracking helps prevent theft in high school

Absolute Software

The Episcopal High School, Houston, was dissatisfied with the traditional computer lab approach to technology; a teacher and a class go to a special computer room, when it could be scheduled, to use the computers. The school realized that laptop computers were the obvious answer.

In order to proactively protect its entire mobile computer inventory, the school recruited the help of ComputracePlus, the software service from Absolute Software. To date, the school has purchased more than 750 licenses for laptops belonging to its faculty and students.

Prior to using the service, the school was losing 5 percent of its laptops a year. Some of the disappearances came from theft, but many computers were simply drifting from school to the houses of friends or relatives. The first year the program was in place, the school decided to highly publicize it and found that the machine-drift problem dropped by more than 50 percent.

In 2001, a computer was stolen off campus from a student's vehicle in the Houston area. Authorities were alerted, as well as the Absolute Recovery Team. In less than a month, the PC was recovered.

Lighting corrections: Lighting retrofit improves visibility and creates an even illumination in gym


The Special Events Center at Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, Calif., is a multifunctional facility that serves as the site for daily physical-education classes and intramural sports. It also plays host to concerts, speeches and commencement exercises, as well as intercollegiate volleyball and basketball competition.

When the university updated the flooring and seating in the facility, the decision was made to upgrade the lighting system, in part to accommodate the local cable-television network, which planned to broadcast home games.

Before upgrading the lighting, the gymnasium was illuminated with can-type high-pressure sodium fixtures that produced a shadowy and pinkish interior. Areas directly beneath the fixtures were bright, but beyond these circles of light, the ceiling was dark and full of shadows. This created visual problems during volleyball competitions in particular because the ball would sometimes pass through two or three dark, shadowy areas as it passed over the net.

New seating was installed that caused the competition floor to be moved out about nine feet. While some of the original wiring could be utilized during the retrofit, the lighting system configuration was changed and additional fixtures were installed above the playing floor. Prismalume luminaries from Holophane with 400-watt metal halide lamps were selected to light the competition floor. Thirty fixtures are mounted at 28 feet, spaced nine feet on center.

The units provide 15 percent uplight to illuminate the greenish-colored acoustical foam ceiling. Uniformity of illumination is also a benefit of the prismatic glass fixtures. They light up the ceiling more evenly than previous can-type units, which makes the entire area seem brighter and improves visibility within the gym.

In the balcony, PrismGlo Aurora fixtures with 400-watt metal halide lamps are used. The units are enclosed to provide a more comfortable experience for spectators seated on the 10 rows of bleachers. Six fixtures are installed, mounted about 12 feet above the floor at the front of the balcony, and five feet above the floor in the back, spaced 10 feet apart.

Energy measurements: Mechanical and electrical information available on real-time basis

Square D

The University of New Mexico (UNM) is building a 12,000-ton chilled-water production plant; replacing five boilers with cogeneration units; replacing all chillers; conducting an upgrade of the electrical system; and undertaking a host of demand-side energy-management investments as part of an ongoing $53 million capital-improvements project dedicated exclusively to energy systems on the main campus in Albuquerque.

To justify the energy-improvement project, a baseline of the energy measurement needed to be created. It would provide the ability to evaluate and improve system performance through analytical and control systems. Up until a year ago, the 600-acre UNM campus had only two main campus electric meters and no way to collect building steam, chilled water or natural gas consumption data, making it difficult to develop a baseline.

After several years of planning, the university has opened the proverbial information floodgates with a Comprehensive Integrated Metering and Monitoring System (CIMMS) from Square D. It automatically harvests mechanical data using MODICON Momentum PLCs and combines it with electrical data using POWERLOGIC Circuit Monitors and System Manager Software. Having mechanical and electrical information available on a real-time basis provides enough information to judge how well the university is managing its energy.

Technology services: Software improves campus technology department's customer service

Front Range Solutions

California State University — San Bernardino is a sprawling campus. With 64 buildings set on 430 acres, it is not an easy place to maneuver quickly. No one knows that better than the university's support technicians, who trek the campus daily resolving technical call tickets.

When a staff member would call the help desk, the caller's name and location would be displayed. Even with the occasional upload of the phone directory into the HEAT database, staff members move around frequently, making it difficult to ensure the technicians would locate the correct location every time.

To solve the problem, Jeffrey Hicks, director of data center services in the information resources and technology support center at Cal State turned to HEAT software once again. From past experience, Hicks knew the software could be tailored to address this particular issue without having to hire consultants or programmers.

With the program in place, job tracking was made more efficient and organized. After building a detail table for the key information needed, the system was ready to go. When the tests were done, the software's Business Process Automation module notified professors through email that they could come pick up their tests.

Plus, the software allowed them to track how many sheets went through the Scantron machine each month. This allowed the data center to know automatically when to perform preventive-maintenance procedures.

The software allows users to provide better customer service and support to the campus. Technicians are more productive and spend less time in transit and more time resolving real issues.

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