By Mitch MeadorJune 20, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla., June 20, 2019 -- Editor's note: The following article is the conclusion to the June 13 article, hyperlinked here, on a $59 million barracks project at Fort Sill.
"A super-heat exchanger" to reduce utility costs -- that's what Army Corps of Engineers Construction Manager Joe Marcano said will be incorporated in the two combined operating facilities (COFs) that comprise the future barracks of the 95th Adjutant General (Reception) Battalion footprint.
Harper Construction, San Diego, is general contractor on the $59 million project that is projected to reach completion sometime around May 2021.
A certain amount of air exchange from outside is needed to prevent mold growth and what some people call "sick buildings." When a lot of Soldiers are in close proximity, the need for ventilation air goes up.
"And so we're tempering the outside air when we bring that in, so that we control the relative humidity, or the moisture of the outside air, so we don't create a source for propagation of bacteria and mold growth," Marcano explained.
The building has to exhaust an amount of air similar to what it takes in to keep from getting over-pressurized, he noted.
"What we've figured out over the years is that it's much wiser to bring that outside air in at a single location, and deal with (conditioning) there, because you're going to wring out a lot of moisture from the air and that's very expensive. We help offset that cost by transferring some of that excess heat to the exhaust air stream as it leaves the building," Marcano explained.
The COFs will be connected to the Utility Monitoring Control System that's monitored full-time by workers at Directorate of Public Works headquarters. (It's also referred to as the Energy Management Control System (EMCS), because it performs both functions.)
Utility costs are almost always tiered, with higher usage levels costing more. So the Directorate of Public Works uses demand load shed to keep costs down. When the meters go crazy during the dog days of August, usage has to be cut to keep from going into a higher tier. The monitors have a hierarchy of buildings based on the criticality of their missions, and when it comes time for somebody to raise the thermostat in summer or lower it in winter, it's the less critical missions that make the sacrifice.
Given the complex nature of the Fort Sill Reception Complex barracks project, and how many post-construction performance tests would have to be conducted to make sure everything is in good working order, Marcano credits Rick West, area engineer for Tulsa District, Army Corps of Engineers, with taking a proactive new approach. West's Mechanical Systems Integration is tasked with early identification and resolution of complex equipment and controls issues that many times are unresolved due to a lack of expertise. Coupled with a Total Building Commissioning process that thoroughly tests various building systems throughout the construction process, the final tests will be a confirmation of earlier tests.