East Coast Contractor Modernizes HVAC System for Modern Group Ltd.

When Modern Group Ltd, a privately owned distributor of material handling, construction and maintenance products in the Mid-Atlantic region, decided to improve energy efficiency at their world headquarters in Bristol, PA, facilities manager Joe Dutco approached area plumbing and heating expert K.E. Seifert, Inc. for a solution.

Having grown frustrated with high operating costs, lost revenues and maintenance problems, Dutco tasked Bob Pietrangelo and his staff at K.E. Seifert with updating the HVAC system for Modern Group’s 65,000 squarefoot facility, which houses both offices and warehouse space.

Upon inspection, Pietrangelo and his team learned that the building was heated by a 40-year old, 1.8 million Btu/hr boiler that had been previously converted from oil to gas. Always running, the boiler featured a 1,000-foot, three-inch constant loop of heated water. Heat was provided by a combination of hydro coils and unregulated baseboard and electric heaters. This aging system resulted in a lack of individual zone control, failing equipment and incredibly inefficient heating and cooling. Though the original assignment given to K.E. Seifert simply involved replacing the equipment for energy efficiency based on engineer-generated specifications, Pietrangelo and the team changed the entire scope of the job after examining the existing design and listening to the client’s wish list of comfort requirements.

They redesigned the entire HVAC system, properly calculating load requirements, providing individual area controls and installing Lochinvar® KNIGHT®


From Retrofit To Redesign

To ensure energy efficiency and customer satisfaction, the K.E. Seifert team completely redesigned the system by eliminating almost all of the existing piping and splitting it into zones with individual area controls for better control and efficiency. To conserve additional energy, unoccupied settings were also utilized.

Where there was once a single baseboard zone for 11 offices and three other areas of the building, they installed a new baseboard circuit with 14 separate zones, each with individual controls to allow for consistent, stable temperatures throughout the building. The first and second floor air handler circuits were split up, the bathroom areas were grouped together under a separate control circuit and the lobby/atrium area was separated into its own circuit.

They eliminated the continuous perimeter three inch supply and return and brought each zone back to a central area in the boiler room. All new piping was installed above drop ceilings.


Properly Sizing for a Perfect Solution

After discarding all of the provided design and load criteria, the K.E. Seifert team performed a proper load calculation and discovered that the true load requirement was actually 400,000 Btu/hr, or 30 percent, less than what they were initially told. This revelation, coupled with Pietrangelo’s experience with the Lochinvar KNIGHT Heating Boiler and knowledge of its advanced features, prompted the team to recommend two KNIGHT399,000 Btu/hr boiler models rather than the originally specified 600,000 Btu/hr boilers recommended by a different manufacturer.

“We recommended the KNIGHT Boiler for this job, as well as many other residential and commercial projects, because it is a superior product that offers the ultimate in energy efficiency,” stated Pietrangelo. “Not only is the KNIGHT incredibly easy to operate, but Lochinvar provides incomparable technical support and training, and the SMART SYSTEM

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