From uncomfortable to oasis
For the Edenvale SC HVAC retrofit project, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) chose Matrix HG to redesign its HVAC system to meet the demands of a greener, more efficient and higher-technology building and tenants.
Matrix was hired to perform a design-build HVAC retrofit for the PG&E’s Edenvale SC property. The existing equipment was over 25 years old and was failing; occupants frequently reported the lack of comfort control. PG&E elected to replace the equipment due to the high repair costs and the high failure rate of the aging equipment. Matrix negotiated a cost-plus contract, representing significant cost savings and incentives to PG&E over competing, fixed-price bids. This sets Matrix apart from other HVAC contractors in offering a cost-plus contract option, due to the opportunity for client savings and the transparency of actual project costs and profit margins. This level of transparency and customer care is one of the many reasons PG&E continues to work with Matrix on an ongoing basis.
This was one of those jobs where nothing was easy or straightforward; just the type of job where Matrix really excels. Here are some of the challenges this project presented:
- The building was occupied, so all of the work had to be performed after-hours or on weekends.
- The project required a complete replacement of all ductwork, piping and controls.
- The roof was asbestos and under supported. We had to abate all of the roofing around the units.
- We had to install steel columns to support the steel sub structure for each new unit. We installed the steel beams inside the asbestos walls. All steal work and replacement happened over 1 weekend
- This also happened in the winter so the roof could not be open more than 1 day to make sure water didn’t penetrate the building.
The Matrix Solution:
Matrix performed all of the work after-hours and on weekends to prevent disruption of services to businesses and occupants.
- Matrix HG installed steel beams inside the asbestos walls to provide the needed roof support for each new HVAC unit. All steel work and replacement happened over a single weekend.
- Over 100 feet of ductwork was installed, along with new piping and controls – all of it being done after-hours, with the existing system still running, allowing Matrix to achieve zero-impact to the building’s tenants.
- We converted the multi-zone system to a variable air volume (VAV) system. Matrix HG chose the VAV system for its cost-saving potential, due to reductions in fan energy, heating costs, plus better temperature control for the tenants.
- We added 25 VAV boxes, one boiler skid, reheat piping, two 40-ton box cars, ALC controls and air-balanced the entire system.
The Matrix solution provided these results, which surpassed the client’s requirements – and even our own expectations:
- In addition to time, we made other important gains by doing the replacement over a single weekend.We were able to reduce mobilization costs for our subcontractors and ourselves, as well as the impact to tenants, as the building had to be vacant during the crane lifts for the sake of safety. Thus, we simplified the project and achieved lower overall project and logistics coordination.
- No tenants were impacted or put in danger while Matrix dealt with the problem of the asbestos in the building. We achieved this by completely sealing off the hallway – again after-hours – to perform the abatement on the walls and roof, so no tenants were impacted, inconvenienced or put at any health risk.
- Matrix’s safety record was perfect on this job – not only for tenants, but for our staff and subcontractors. This project logged over 2100 hundred hours without an incident.
Matrix was able to downsize the HVAC system, as we diagnosed the existing system as being grossly oversized. We were able to reduce overall HVAC energy usage by 35%. The tenants are more comfortable and more productive, as they no longer have to worry about whether it’s going to be too cold or too warm in their workspace. PG&E recognized the benefits in energy savings and comfort coming out of this project.