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10 Steps To Energy Efficient Buildings

10 steps graphic36% of the US electricity usage is drawn by commercial building space and 18% of the entire country’s energy consumption, and its pretty certain that a good portion of that is wasted. This Wall Street Journal article lists 10 relatively simple – and often inexpensive- ways  to slash energy use in your buildings. Read More and Save Energy Here



Retrofit for Rooftop HVAC Package Units Yields Substantial Savings

HVAC, Energy Savings, Mechanical Contractor, CatalystA case study provided by Bonneville Power Administration in the Pacific Northwest, described how a small retailer retrofitted 2 rooftop packaged HVAC units with a new efficiency technology and was able to save over 24,000 kWh (a 45% reduction) per year.

Similar results were identified in another 12-month field test  at malls, grocery stores, offices and other commercial buildings throught out the US.

This technology, from Transformative Wave, is called CATALYST and it combines conventional energy saving measures with new innovative fan controls in an easy-to-implement device for single zone rooftop units.

PG&E and SMUD have both acknowledged the accuracy of the savings from this new technology and are providing incentives to customers who retrofit their HVAC systems. The incentives for PG&E are based on HVAC tons (as high as $194/ton) and the SMUD incentives are currently based on kWh saved ($0.08 per kWh).

Interested in decreasing the energy use of your rooftop HVAC units or would like more information on the CATALYST system?  click here to learn more.



COAC Now Servicing NorCal 7-Elevens

Cooper Oates Air Conditioning Serves 7-11 Stores Cooper Oates Air Conditioning has recently begun  providing HVAC and refrigeration preventative maintenance and service to 125 7-Eleven locations as far north as Redding, south to Turlock and west to Marin area. Click here for map of locations.


McAlpines Join the Cooper Oates Air Conditioning Team

Duke McAlpine

Duke McAlpine
Senior Advisor –
Construction Div.
916.381.4611 main
916.708.5990 mobile

John McAlpine Senior Account Manager   916.381.4611   main 916.205.8055   mobile johnmcalpine@coacair.com

John McAlpine
Senior Account Manager
916.381.4611 main
916.205.8055 mobile

Jeff McAlpine Senior Service Technician   916.381.4611   main 9916.205.6235   mobile jeffmcalpine@coacair.com

Jeff McAlpine
Senior Service Technician
916.381.4611 main
9916.205.6235 mobile

We are delighted to welcome Duke McAlpine to Cooper Oates Air Conditioning as Senior Advisor in our Construction Division. As past president of the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange, the local ASHRAE chapter, the Associated Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors and former owner of Park Mechanical, his decades of experience will help further our mission of helping owners, property managers and tenants improve the return on their building investments. Duke’s breadth of knowledge and wisdom across the life-cycle continuum of design/build construction to service will further enhance our ability to provide thoughtful and sustainable solutions to our customers.

We are also pleased to welcome Jeff and John McAlpine who have built strong reputations providing the full spectrum of HVAC solutions to their customers. Their business values of service timeliness, precision, expertise and partnership are a wonderful compliment to our team and will add value for our customers.

Ruzwa Cooper,  President

Cooper Oates Air Conditioning



Bob Knows: The Hidden Value of Cleaning Coils

Bob Plotner Service Operations Manager
By: Robert Plotner,
Cooper Oates Air Conditioning,
Service Operations Manager

Clean Coils Make Great Sense — and Save Cents

The coils in your air conditioning units are where heat is either removed or added to the space. Both the condenser and the evaporator coils are engineered or “sized” to provide optimum heat transfer as required by the space being conditioned. Optimum heat transfer and system efficiency, however, is determined by how clean the coil surfaces are where the heat transfer takes place.

The air moving across these coils, in almost all cases, contain dust, dirt, pollen, grease, and moisture. These contaminants settle on the coil surfaces, adversely affecting the coils’ ability to transfer heat. The cost of operating dirty air conditioning is greater than you might suspect. When the coil becomes fouled with dirt and grime, it cannot provide its designed — or, in some cases, even adequate — heat transfer, and that costs you
in many ways.
Dirty Clogged Condensate Pan 2LRThe Costs of Dirty Coils Add Up

Dirt and grime insulate the coils, increasing discharge pressures that increase the amperage draw and run time of the compressor and other components, while simultaneously reducing heat transfer capacity. Equipment operating with dirty coils can use more than 30% more energy than equipment with clean coils. You end up paying for more power on equipment that is working harder and harder to get the same or less cooling.
The cost of dirty coils goes beyond just energy use. As dirt and grime collect on the coils, they restrict heat transfer and cause the compressor to work harder. This adds more heat to the system and causes pressure to rise. Rising pressure results in a loss of cooling capacity of up to 30%. A 10-ton system with a 30% loss provides only 7 tons of cooling. This loss of capacity is most noticeable on the hot days when cooling is needed the most.

The bad news does not stop there. Higher operating pressures and temperatures caused by a dirty coil reduce the equipment’s life expectancy. The elevated system temperature and pressure leads to the premature breakdown of the compressor’s lubricant, just like running your car to hot and the oil breaks down. In addition, acid formation can occur, leading to an acid burnout. Lubricant breakdown and acid formation will seriously compromise the compressor and ultimately will lead to premature catastrophic equipment failure. Compressor failure means no cooling and no cooling means unhappy tenants. Compressor replacement means considerable downtime and cost to the building owner. Clean coils can reduce the risk of these “expensive” consequences.

Coils Also Affect Indoor Air Quality

A fouled and dirty evaporator coil creates an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and mold that can impact a building’s indoor air quality. Cleaning, sanitizing, and protecting the evaporator coil and surrounding areas is critical. In addition to the coils, the condensate pan is prone to the build-up of bacterial slime. As condensate collects in the pan, and doesn’t drain properly, it can become a breeding place for harmful bacteria. This build-up can cause odor as well as plugged drains and overflows, which in turn can cause significant water damage.

Cooper Oates Air Conditioning

The benefits of regular HVAC coil cleaning and preventive maintenance:

•  Significant energy savings every month (why pay for more power than you have to)
•  Peak equipment efficiencies (run the equipment for the least amount of time)
•  Enhanced reliability & reduced breakdowns (prevent downtime, damage and unhappy tenants)
•  Longer service life (protect this asset and avoid replacement for as long as possible)
•  Improved indoor air quality. (protect your tenants comfort and health)
•  Energy conservation (realize savings without sacrificing comfort)

Summing up

If your car got 30% less gas mileage or your refrigerator lost 30% of its cooling you would probably see that as a problem that needed immediate attention. Dirty and fouled coils create the same urgency with potentially much more expense at risk.
© Cooper Oates Air Conditioning 2013 

R-22 Rationing Begins

R-22 Refrigerant Phase Out graphicA recent EPA notification announced additional limits on the importation and production of the R-22 refrigerant to only 39 million pounds resulting in price spikes and severe rationing of the supply.  As an example, COAC was recently buying R-22 by the pallet (40 jugs per pallet) and now we are limited to 2 jugs per order. Additionally, in the last 6 months the price of R-22 locally has spiked 240%. In some parts of the country, the rate is double that increase.
DuPont, manufacturer of the Freon brand of R-22, temporarily suspended all orders of Freon until the supply situation was stabilized and the EPA notifications could be fully digested.
If your building’s HVAC equipment uses R-22 don’t panic but now is the time to plan for the eventual phase out of that equipment. Please contact COAC with your questions or concerns about this rapidly evolving shortage.  Contact us at 916.381.4611 or info@coacair.com.

Visit COAC’s R-22 Update Page


4 HVAC Gains – With No Budget Pains

Facility managers know there are plenty of ways to get buildings to use less energy. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve HVAC performance that do not cost a lot of money to implement. Some have more to do with the manner in which the building is operated than the actual HVAC system itself.

Most low- and no-cost items fall into four categories:

  • Equipment Scheduling
  • Sensor Error
  • Simultaneous Heating and Cooling
  • Outdoor Air

(Read More)


Bob Knows: Preparing for winter operations

Bob Plotner COAC Service Manager
Bob Plotner
Cooper Oates Air Conditioning
Operations Service Manager

There are many things to consider when preparing for winter operation of any building, but keep in mind these shoulder months offer a huge opportunity for energy saving.

As we approach the heating season, we need to be checking the heating cycles on all the air conditioning equipment, paying particular attention to the operation of the boilers. During the early hours of the morning heating may be needed to take the chill off but in the afternoon there may be a need for cooling.  A well tuned building will only use the amount of heating and cooling needed to make the building comfortable.  Too often we find a building is overheating and over-cooling and sometimes heating and cooling at the same time, missing out on a tremendous amount of energy savings.

Besides the HVAC systems, building owners should check and clear all roof drains, remove all roof debris and look for cracks or bubbles in the roofing that may indicate problems.  As a service for our customers, our technicians report any issues they may see while they are on the roof of any building, but a thorough exam should be on your winter prep list.

Don’t wait until you have bigger problems at critical times, now is the time to test and review your systems and insure that energy expenses are minimized and tenant comfort is protected. If you have any questions about your HVAC winter preparations, feel free to contact me directly at rplotner@coacair.com or at 916.381.4611.