Kanawha County Schools Insist on Triad Boilers
Exemplary Schools in West Virginia Realize Exemplary Life-Cycle Costs
In 2005, eleven schools in Kanawha County, West Virginia were named as Exemplary Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. While teachers and students were raising their academics to achieve these prestigious awards, Ray Wohlfarth of Fire & Ice, Pittsburgh, PA was busy lowering the school system’s fuel costs.
Working with Norton Bashlor, head of the school system’s in-house facilities organization, and Randy Edens, chief installer, the on-going project began in 1996. To date, forty boilers have been installed in eleven county school buildings, including in the State Capital of Charleston. The school buildings involved had a combination of hydronic and low pressure steam heating formerly provided by cast iron boilers.
The school district maintains and installs all its own equipment at in-house savings and quality that rival that of outside contractors, so they were well aware of how expensive new equipment can be, but equally important, they were acutely sensitive to minimizing on-going maintenance and fuel costs. Their primary goal in each of the retrofit projects was to lower fuel cost while increasing the reliability of their heating systems.
At first the department was reluctant to change from the old cast iron boilers. For each project, life-cycle cost comparisons were worked up by an independent consulting firm using DOE software.
After the first TRIAD installation was up and running, Mr. Bashlor was sold on the real benefits and value. The new TRIAD boilers produced steam and delivered it to the buildings much quicker than the cast iron boilers, while demonstrating improved temperature control, which resulted in the promised fuel savings.
Each of the projects presented individual engineering challenges met by TRIAD and Ray Wohlfarth.
One building that featured a very old Columbus warm air furnace – large enough to walk in – required a conversion from forced air to hydronic. Working with Johnson Controls, the furnaces were left in place but disabled. Hot water coils were installed on the discharge for each unit producing a saving in heating costs of approximately 30%.
Another project dedicated a steam to water heat exchanger for a newer wing of the school. While yet another project used TRIAD steam boilers for one wing and hot water boilers for another.
Mr. Bashlor commented; “The boilers are quite affordable, heat fast, and are very efficient.And I like the whole modular system…even if one boiler goes down, we always have heat because of the redundancy. And I like the service I get from Ray Wohlfarth.”
Mr. Edens was quoted as saying, “The boilers take less work to install than cast iron. We can finish quickly and get on to the next project.We are always shorthanded, so this time savings means a great deal.And the TRIAD boilers have been problem-free since their installation.”