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Demolishing a 12 foot circulation fan at the Cal Trans Building

Cal Trans Massive Circulation Fan with Man LRHere is the before picture of the 12 ft. tall x 14 ft. wide circulation fan that the team from COAC demolished to make way for the new, more redundant and efficient, fan wall.

Stay tuned for the time lapse video of the demolition and installation of the new Cal Trans Fan Wall.

R-22 – Fading Fast

Sara Jackson - Headshot closeup sml

Sara Jackson COAC Customer Service Manager

As HVAC system owners and contractors, we should all be paying attention to the major changes in the refrigeration markets occurring in 2016. As the complete phase-out of R-22 continues, the EPA has declared that in 2016 only 18 million pounds of R-22 can be produced or imported. The 2016 amount is down from 51 million pounds allowed in 2014, and will be decreasing significantly each year until December 31, 2019, when no new or imported R-22 will be permitted in the United States.

The R-22 supply dwindles and the “normal to warmer-than-usual” temperatures, predicted by meteorologists, for this coming summer will assuredly increase the demand. R-22 prices were up 15% in the final quarter of 2015 and are anticipated to reach record levels by the end of 2016. Refrigerant distributors will be subject to allocation limits and supplies will become scarce. The possibilities of imported counterfeit R-22 is a real and likely possibility, therefore purchasers will have to be vigilant in their research and trust who they are buying from.

r-22 Fading AwayAnother notable change will be the end of production of the “dry-shipped” unit (equipment designed to use R-22, yet not containing any refrigerant at the time of sale/shipment). As of the end of February, manufacturers are no longer able to sell this type of equipment. This means all new units will be required to use other types of refrigerants.

The phase-out will force owners of R-22 equipment to replace their systems or transition to an environmentally approved retrofit alternative for their legacy systems. Manufacturers are coming to the table with new refrigerants such as Gentron 422D, Performax LT, and Solstice N40. These next generation products all have different characteristics and performance specifications. When retrofitting with these alternative refrigerants it will be important to note the lubricant choice and its effect on system performance and to recognize the need to replace elastomers, O-rings, and possibly system valves during that retrofit. In this rapidly changing industry, it will behoove the consumer to research the options and regulations and form solid, reliable relationships with well-informed service providers they can trust to do the job right and keep the comfortable air flowing.

Alternative Refrigerant Links:

422D https://www.honeywell-refrigerants.com/americas/product/genetron-422d/

N40 https://www.honeywell-refrigerants.com/americas/?document=solstice-n40-data-sheet&download=1

Performax LT https://www.honeywell-refrigerants.com/india/?document=honeywell-genetron-performaxlt-technical-specs&download=1


A Cool Idea – Electricity Free Air Conditioning

New materials may change the way temperatures are regulated


Cooper Oates Air Conditioning HVAC, Mechanical Contractors, Electricity

A Stanford University research team has invented a way for buildings to dump their heat without the needs for pumps, fans or compressors. This idea, described in a recent issue of Nature, is simple and provocative – radiate the heat back into space. The materials used for this process are still in the prototype stage and in the end would probably not eliminate all of a building’s cooling needs. The idea could be the start of something really cool.  Read More Here.


SMUD’s energy-saving guru, Bruce Baccei, discusses ideas for saving energy with your roof-top HVAC units

Add-on Variable Speed Controls for RTUs

DCV, mechanical contractor
In a recent article published at the EnergyCentral website, Bruce Baccei of SMUD’s Energy R&D, discusses a topic that he has devoted years of his professional life to, HVAC efficiency.  In particular Bruce reviews the results of a Sacramento field test on a technology that averaged an energy savings of over 39%.

The addition of variable speed controllers to existing single speed HVAC units has proven to dramatically reduce energy consumption and the technology has other significant benefits. Products like Catalyst, also provide the value of fault detection, measurement of energy savings, adjustment of controls, email alerts, viewing performance and Demand Response all by way of the internet. Read Bruce’s article here.

For more information or an on-site survey showing how Variable Speed Controls, like those discussed in the article, can save your energy dollars contact COAC’s John McAlpine.

Ideas to Slash Plug Loads

COAC Energy Saving, Mechanical ContractorThe drain on energy budgets by plug loads is on the rise, and there seems to be no decrease in energy rates or devices in use anytime soon. The New Building Institute warns that plug loads are by far the fastest growing segment of energy users. The good news is that there are effective strategies to help reduce this energy load by up to 40% with occupant participation and low-cost technologies.  Read More Here

For more information on some effective best practices to reduce plug loads :
Quick-Start Guide to Plug Load Reduction
Plug Load Best Practices Guide


COAC’s New Virtual Walk through of the latest NASA project

Watch COAC’s Virtual Walk through video of one of our current NASA projects. The NASA N233 Cooling Tower #2 project is underway and the planning is comprehensive and challenging. COAC’s Principle Engineer Gary Storck and Designer Mike Garcia teamed up to craft this amazing video to show the client how the new cooling tower and pipes would integrate with the existing tower and fit in the existing space.

Gary Cline joins COAC at Hydronics Superintendent

COAC Hydronics SuperintendentGary Cline has joined Cooper Oates Air Conditioning (COAC) as Hydronics Superintendent, Construction Div. Gary has 30+ years of plumbing and pipe fitting experience. Gary will lead the effort of expanding the hydronics services offered by COAC’s already comprehensive suite of mechanical services. Gary can be reached at 916.862.2970 or by email at gcline@coacair.com.



Using Building Benchmarking As A Tool

Here are 4 ways to use the building benchmarking process more that just a compliance requirement, but a real tool to improve the return on the building investment:

1. How are your buildings doing?
Understand building performance at a building or portfolio level. See performance in simple metrics and benchmark a building against itself, a portfolio, its peers and ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®.

2. Are buildings getting better or worse?

Prioritize where to focus attention by watching building energy use and expense move with weather normalization and changes in your building. Spend time finding solutions for those buildings with the greatest needs.

3. Where are the best opportunities for savings?

Implement solutions that will change building performance. Identify low cost operation and maintenance changes, and plan for improvements with a good return on investment.

4. Have past energy improvements paid off? Measure and prove the results. Every investment-large or small-should yield results. Tracking changes and improvements will allow you to build best practices and save more.


For more information on Benchmarking or if you building needs a Benchmark, contact Bill Schmalzel, LEED AP, COAC’s Director of Energy Services.



HVAC Retirement – To plan or not to plan

The end is coming! The question is, is it better to plan for HVAC replacement or endure the disruption when it occurs.

Old HVAC Ready for Retirement Replacing or upgrading an HVAC unit is never an easy decision, unless that decision has already been made for you due to the unit failing. Many building owners and managers are reactive when it comes to their HVAC systems. Something changes (no air, no cool, no warm etc…) then action is taken to correct the failure or replace the unrepairable unit. Even with diligent and meticulous maintenance HVAC has a finite lifespan and it will fail eventually. The real decision with managing the HVAC assets is will you manage them or will they manage you.

We suggest that you take control and manage these remarkable and quite vital assets. Whether the units are old and running on borrowed time due to the increasing shortage of R-22 refrigerant, you are looking to increase the buildings value and marketability or just want to save energy, taking control will pay off in many ways. Have a plan in place that allows you to be pro-active about your replacement strategy and that fits you budget. Thinking strategically about your HVAC assets is proving to be more economical over the long run than reacting to emergencies.

COAC can provide you with information and expert advice that will guide you through your decision process. Detailed unit evaluations, pre & post energy use modeling, maintenance and replacement planning and financing are just some of the ways we can assist you in taking control. To plan or not to plan, it’s up to you.

Read more about replacing or repairing here.

Benchmarking – more than just a compliance chore

Mandatory benchmarks are impacting sales and leases, know your number and take steps now to set your building apart.

Energy Projects Decision California’s required building benchmarking ordinance (AB1103) can be seen as cumbersome and intrusive to a real estate transaction but when a benchmark is viewed as a valuable tool, it can be the used to enhance marketing appeal, illuminate energy savings, and increase a building’s value. The U.S. EPA found an average energy savings of 2.4 percent per year in buildings that consistently benchmark their energy use.*

Benchmarking uses Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager Software to compare your building’s energy usage to similar buildings and generates a benchmark score. This score is a good but basic indication of how your building is doing compared to others. This information can be very empowering to property/facility managers as a snapshot of the energy use effectiveness and then open discussions for savings opportunities. When benchmarks are adopted as a regularly used tool, very effective information can be created. Information like; knowing the “score” before and after any energy project to determine effectiveness, showcasing ongoing energy efficiency to a prospective buyer or tenant, or demonstrating increased building value by reducing operating costs. For instance, a 100,000-square-foot building that reduces its energy costs by 10 percent, say from $2.00 per square foot to $1.80 per square foot, increases its net operating income by $20,000 and building value at an 8 percent cap rate by $250,000.

To make benchmarking easier, COAC can step you through the process. We have benchmarked dozens of buildings in this region and can easily navigate the convoluted process for you. Whether your need is immediate, for a closing transaction, or a longer term program of benchmarking to identity savings opportunities or validate energy saving projects, COAC Energy Services can take care of it for you. Our website has an easy way to get the benchmark process started or you can email Bill Schmalzel directly to get started.