Rejecting the premise – Part 2

In order to justify the $4 million approach to fixing town offices, the newspaper seems to be fixated on the lack of a central heating system .  I know a little about heating systems, and couldn’t disagree more.

The failed $6.8 million restoration included a central heating and cooling system,  with two large boilers and a huge water chiller.  An independent ventilation system was also included.  It was very expensive and subsequently discredited by nearly everyone for it’s installation cost, high operational cost, and lack of flexibility during heat/cool transitional seasons.

The town is now touting a study from Peterson Engineering where they propose installing three different systems, one each for heating, cooling, and ventilation.  Another high cost, over-engineered system.

I’d suggest a single independent zoned forced air system  in each 1,500 sq ft suite to provide heating, ventilation and air conditioning using an air source heat-pump with electric resistance boost/backup.  It’s simple, easy to maintain, inexpensive to operate, and can be zoned to accommodate the solar gain issues in the front of the building.

The All Saints outreach building is 2,400 sq ft per floor and each has just such a discrete system that was originally fueled by propane and used a traditional A/C compressor.  Last year the upper floor was converted to an inverter heat pump, and their heating bill dropped by 40%.  That space is on track to heat and cool this year for less than $1,000.

Central heating systems are becoming obsolete.  That said, a very large boiler or furnace would be needed to heat the upstairs hall and a very large air conditioning system as well.  I think the McGinley Kalsow engineer had computed something like 40 tons of air conditioning.  That’s about three times what the offices would need.

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