Web Based Building Controls

We are pleased to offer interactive classroom presentations in the new Innovation and Development Center (IDC). In partnership with B.J. Terroni Company, the training “Web Based Building Controls” is presented by Roger Michaud, iWorx National Sales Manager of Taco, Inc.

Hands on training allows you and your company with limited to no controls experience to fully create, install and commission web based systems. You will learn about the power and simplicity of a new generation of Building Controls, allowing you and your company to participate in the growing market for controls. You will experience hands on our iWorx system, a web-based building management, monitoring, and control system designed specifically for high-end residential and light commercial markets. From hydronics to VAV systems, Geothermal to BTU metering, iWorx provides a simple yet powerful controls platform.

Experience this interactive training by visiting our virtual IDC classroom tour.

Web Based Building Controls 

Building Retrofit for Energy Efficiency and Better Comfort

When the owners of Tanque Verde Apartments in Tucson decided to upgrade mechanical systems, they made it clear that they wanted a dramatic shift from old to new. Until recently, the 15 acre, 428-unit complex has met the heating and cooling needs of the tenants, but with little regard for the amount of energy consumed in the process.

When the apartments were built 30 years ago, energy efficiency wasn’t exactly the main focus. After all, the price for gas and electricity was a fraction of today’s rate.

At Tanque Verde, an enormous district system heated and cooled all the apartments. Last year, the hydronic system began leaking underground. Tenants complained about lack of controllability while repair bills accumulated. Making matters worse, the equipment was outdated, bandaged and in desperate need of replacement.

Keeping it all In-House 

When it comes to overhauling colossal mechanical systems, the Scotia Group Management LLC was quick to embrace the idea of a retrofit. Their mechanical contractor Oracle Control Systems, Inc. (OCSI) designed and installed all new hydronic heating and cooling equipment, solar-thermal DHW system, modular building automation controls, and large photovoltaic arrays to bring Tanque Verde out of the mechanical Stone Age.

“We’ve re-piped several properties in the summer without displacing tenants” Mo Forrey, owner of Oracle Control Systems, Inc. (OCSI).

OCSI crews tore out and replaced boilers, chillers, and underground hydronic lines. The two original mechanical buildings were kept; the smaller on the north side of the complex, and the larger on the south. Since none of the tenants could be displaced, OCSI installed parallel piping throughout the property while keeping the existing system on-line. Temporary chillers, boilers and piping were employed to maintain service.

On the north side of the complex, a similar approach was used. The mechanical building had a large atmospheric boiler and three vertical water heaters for DHW, all of which were removed. Now the building houses two, 1,000 MBH gas boilers and one large chiller. Hydronic demands for the smaller system are 140 GPM on the heating side, and 280 GPM for cooling. Each mechanical building is outfitted with a Taco iWorx boiler control module (BLMC). Each module can monitor and control up to four boilers, as long as the boilers are serving a common load.

Read more about the building management systems in the next part of the blog. Until then!

Why Green is Good for People, Part 2

Why Green is Good for People? 

By Lynne Phipps, Taco Contributing Editor

Lynne Phipps, LEED AP

Lynne Phipps, LEED AP

As discussed in Part 1, designing green buildings for the benefit of the people who live and work in them means bringing ample fresh air and natural light into the building and avoiding the use of materials that off-gas substances that are detrimental to human health and well being.

In addition, green indoor environments are both physically and psychologically comfortable for people.

Such design may include:
• The use of smart switches and thermostats for lighting and temperature control.
• Comfortable forms of heat such as radiant heat.
• The use of color, texture, and plants as interior design elements.

The use of technologies such as smart switches, which control lighting based on natural light levels as well as the presence of people in a space, is energy efficient and maximizes the use of natural light. Both factors make the environment more comfortable and healthier for human beings.

Smart thermostats provide similar benefits by regulating temperatures based on the availability of the sun’s thermal energy for heating. Both of these technologies are wonderful advancements. Any time the designer can reliably regulate the indoor environment to improve physical or psychological comfort, the individuals in that environment feel more supported and, as a result, happiness and productivity increase.

Color and TextureThe use of color and texture, whether as paint, wall coverings and floor coverings, or as art work, also increases comfort and happiness indoors. In the work environment, this translates to decreased absenteeism and job turnover. It has been reported that second only to salary, the work environment is the most important factor in an individual’s decision to take a given job or stay with a company.

When designing a green building, the use of color is a craft. The designer must juggle the use of color with the ability of that color to reflect rather than absorb the natural light entering the space. Color also brings life to spaces and offers opportunities to add or reinforce a sense of identity, should the designer choose.

Likewise, plants can have a significant positive effect on the indoor environment. Studies have shown that one plant per person significantly increases CO2 in an indoor environment, decreasing absenteeism and reducing stress at work.

All of these elements — natural light, effective temperature control, color, the use of plants – contribute to the successful greening of buildings, whether new construction or retrofits.

Lynne Phipps is an interior architect and green building advocate with a holistic, integrated approach to the built environment. 

Join the Taco HVAC Commercial Designer Pro community to access more technical articles, industry news, videos, and discussions: http://commercial.taco-hvac.com



At a time when jobs are still hard to come by and food banks are working overtime to meet the nutritional needs of struggling families, area architectural firms, construction companies, and contractors  have stepped up to the plate to help – while having a bit of creative fun for a most worthy cause.

CanstructionRI Design/Build Competition

CanstructionRI, sponsored by the RI Community Food Bank and Taco, Inc. among other companies, is an annual event held at the Providence Place Mall and features the efforts of competing teams building imaginative food can constructions.  This year there were a total of six “sculptures” representing the work of numerous firms.

LLB Architects and Shawmut Design and Construction’s display featured Cangry Birds – birds angry at the state of hunger in RI. It received an honorary mention by the judges. Other notable displays included a New England clam bake with a giant lobster topping out a boiling pot, a tug boat plowing through waves created by blue and white labeled cans, and a Winnie the Pooh display with a lot of honey and peanut butter jars.

Shawmut Design and Construction is the general contractor overseeing the construction of Taco’s new Innovation and Development Center building as well as interior renovations to the manufacturer’s existing 1904 building on Cranston Street in Cranston, RI. Joe Raposo, Shawmut’s Assistant Project Manager, headed up the 2012 LLB Architects-Shawmut canstruction team.

The 2012 competition marked the fourth time that LLB Architects and Shawmut have teamed up to compete in CanstructionRI. Other participating firms included Dimeo Construction, GTECH, Gilbane, Saccoccio Associates and Michael Warner Architect, among others.

Why Green is Good for People?

By Lynne Phipps, Taco Contributing Editor

Most people think of green building design, or sustain able design as being good for the environment. They don’t always think of green buildings as being designed to be good for people. Whether designed as a residence or an office building, green buildings are first and foremost, healthier buildings in which people can live and work.

How do green buildings differ from a standard housing or business unit in terms of the healthfulness of their environment? There are several ways. Green design makes maximum use of any building’s access to natural light and fresh air, and avoids those materials inside the building that can have an adverse effect on health by off-gassing.

Nathan Bishop School Library

Natural lighting in the library of the Nathan Bishop School in Providence, RI.

Natural lighting is not only the least expensive form of light, it is also the healthiest. On the other hand, fluorescent light, which is presently the least expensive mass produced commercial lighting, may also be the least healthy. The use of fluorescent lighting has been associated with problems such as headaches, migraines, eye strain and eye discomfort. Whenever possible, designers and architects should use as much natural light as possible, only subsidizing it with artificial light as needed. In doing so, designers offer reduced energy bills, and provide building occupants with vitamin D and serotonin, both important for health and well being.

Bringing plenty of fresh air into the indoor environment is also a vital element of green design as well as being a requirement of the LEED system. Ample fresh air is also an essential element in dealing with sick building syndrome (SBS). SBS can have several causes. Primary among them is the use of HVAC systems that are not cleaned regularly, which then circulate and recirculate dust, mold spores and other pollutants through the building. A second significant cause of SBS can be the off-gassing of interior building materials, painting and coatings, carpeting, furnishings, etc. These materials can off-gas substances, some of them carcinogenic, over a long period of time. Occupants in buildings with SBS may experience headaches, nausea, dizziness and lethargy.

Curing SBS in an existing building, or preventing it in a new building, is a priority for designers who focus on sustainable design. On any given project, this may be accomplished in a variety of ways. The first often is providing operable windows that make it easy to bring in fresh air. Maximizing natural air flow through any given space, minimizes the effects of polutants and makes for healthier and happier occupants.

Specifying interior finishes that do not pose a health risk to building occupants is another way designers can ensure that a building is a healthy place to live and work. Furnishing, carpets and building materials of natural materials, recycled or recyclable materials, are usually produced by manufacturers that are thinking about off-gassing.

The specifier must also think about the adhesives and/or underlayments that go along with the materials being specified. If a material is green, but the underlayment is not specified, the contractor/installer may not understand enough about the project to know that off-gassing is a critical concern, both for the installation process and for the end user. It is critical that the designer specify not only green materials, but a green installation.

When designers pay close attention to natural light, indoor air quality, and interior material selection, the quality of the interior environment for the end user increases significantly.

In what other ways does green building affect people? Share your insights!

Indoor Air Comfort Provided By a Heat Pump-LoadMatch Delivery System

Notes From the Field: A Mixed Reuse Project with LoadMatch Single Pipe System

In Cincinnati a former tin can factory transformed into New York-Style Lofts, with residents enjoying indoor air comfort provided by a    Heat Pump-LoadMatch® Delivery System. Lets take a look at the project implementation and technologies deployed to meet unique, sustainable urban opportunities with enhanced energy efficiency for tenants.

View of the renovated American Can Lofts.

The former American Can building, which at one time had been the site of the largest aluminum can manufacturer in the U.S., had been abandoned since the 1990s. It took Ohio developer Bloomfield/Schon + Partners over six years to redevelop the property in light of the serious difficulties posed by environmental contamination at the site and the economic downturn.

Today the American Can Lofts‘ 110 apartment units are at full occupancy, and residents enjoy efficient indoor comfort provided by an HVAC delivery system comprised of ClimateMaster heat pumps in combination with Taco LoadMatch® circulators in a single pipe system. 

The project developer Bloomfield & Schon + Partners and the Cincinnati Air Conditioning have selected  a LoadMatch system as a very cost-effective solution in terms of materials needed, the installation savings it affords, and its energy efficiency in operation. The single pipe system utilizes small, low kW circulators in a self-balancing system that assures the required flow to all heating and cooling units at all times while requiring less pipe and fittings, fewer control valves, and no balancing valves, thereby reducing first-costs. Lower pump head and operation of pumps to match the load reduced operating and maintenance costs.

The fast-paced project schedule meant that the design engineer Ray Fischer only had five weeks to design and size the system instead of a typical timeframe of 2-3 months. As a solution, he has utilized the Taco’s Hydronic System Solution® (HSS) software design tool proved to be of great assistance.

Taco Hydronic System Solutions® Design Software

Taco Hydronic System Solutions® Design Software

“The HSS tool saved me a lot of time,” says Ray, who sized all equipment using HSS. The software allows design engineers to size plant and equipment, calculate loads and flows automatically, and make design changes quickly and easily while reducing the chance of errors and time spent on recalculations. Because there were over 30 apartment configurations in the American Can Lofts, a building with two ceiling heights (all above 10 ft.), plus lots of exposed brick, exposed ceilings and window glass, proper sizing of the heat pumps was critical to the eventual comfort experience of tenants. Some apartments with two exposures and lots of glass also required auxiliary duct heaters for added heat in winter.

According to Bob Stiens of Cincinnati Air, piping was a challenge in this project because there are actually two joined buildings, with one built earlier than the other (1907 and 1921 respectively) and at different levels. With the LoadMatch system the team was able to find a way to route across the older building and into the newer building on a similar level and feed all of the apartments.

Taco Vertical Inline pump in the mechanical room.

Taco Vertical Inline pump in the mechanical room.

Powering the HVAC system for the building comes from equipment installed in a rooftop penthouse mechanical room. This space was a small, former elevator machine room in the former factory, and the tight space required close coordination to fit all of the necessary equipment. In it are twin Thermal Solutions gas-fired condensing boilers at 1.5 million BTUs each, supported by four Taco KV and KS Vertical In-line pumps, a Taco Plate & Frame Heat Exchanger and a 4900 Series Air Separator.

Opened last November, the American Can lofts building is a key element driving the Northside neighborhood’s revitalization. Learn more about the project’s success, including technology solutions for efficiency, cost savings and better comfort, visit the project profile website page: http://bit.ly/HeIgKj

Building for the Future: Taco’s Expansion Project Update

Building for the Future: Taco’s Expansion Project 

We continue our blog series featuring construction and development of the Taco Innovation and Development Center and its sustainable design principles.

Work on the new Taco Innovation and Development Center is continuing at a fast pace, aided by a warmer than normal start to winter. The project, which involves renovations to interior office spaces within Taco’s existing building as well as construction of the new Center, is about 40-percent completed, according to Kyle Lloyd, Senior Project Manager for Shawmut Design and Construction, the design-build firm overseeing the project.

Architectural Renderings, Innovation & Development Center

Construction of the Innovation Center, Phase Two of the five-phase project, is about 65-percent completed, with installation of windows almost completed. From there we will continue with dry walling and painting within the two-story structure and begin installing acoustical ceiling panels and finishing the ceiling work, which will include piping and installation of chilled beams. Work has also started on the new Taco Café for employees.

Progress on the Center’s dedicated mechanical room is also under way, and equipment installation has commenced. Far from an ordinary mechanical room, the center’s physical plant design has been mapped out using MEP BIM Revit modeling to allow working products to also be viewed as displays for touring-teaching purposes.

Chris Integlia, Taco Executive Vice President and the project build team leader anticipates grand opening this June. Chris shares, “This is a very exciting project from our point of view, because it has allowed us to work jointly with many of our industry partners – fellow manufacturers, architects, engineers, contractors and tradesmen – to create a facility that will display the latest in advanced hydronic technology. We’re also proud of the positive impact this project is having on the local economy by employing over 200 contractors in our industry”.

In our next project updates, we will be discussing installation of Chilled Beam systems.

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