I am writing this to compliment Hometown Plumbing and Heating on the great experience we had working with them on the Iowa City Community School District – Liberty High School project. Hometown was the mechanical contractor responsible for installing plumbing systems and HVAC hydronic systems and equipment, along with overseeing and coordinating the work of their subcontractors for HVAC sheet metal, insulation, and temperature controls. The project contained many advanced and highly energy efficient systems that required close coordination and attention to detail both prior to and during installation. Hometown did a great job paying attention to details during the coordination drawing process and coordinating with other trades, and then making adjustments during the installation process when necessary to ensure the systems can operate as intended.
The building is going through the utility rebate processes, in which the building as design is compared to the code base building. Energy saving strategies were reviewed relative to first cost and expected payback. The final design is expected to save 44% kWh relative to a code base building as defined by ASH RAE 90.1-2010 appendix G, resulting in an approximate annual energy savings of $150,000. The utility process is currently verifying the constructed building relative to the design building model.
Hometown Plumbing and Heating was instrumental in the development of the building information model for school. They took the lead in coordinating between trades and their sub-contractors. I feel their final product is high quality and look forward to seeing how the building systems hold up through the tests of time.
One of the specific challenges of the project was the unique chiller/ heater coupled with the ground source heat exchanger, which provides the buildings heating and chilled water. This highly efficient central plant system required a significant amount of large diameter piping, control sensors, pumps, complex piping arrangement, and three rotary-screw chillers, all of which was impressively installed. During the early stages of the project Hometown produced detailed drawings of the piping layout for the mechanical room that helped facilitate a successful installation. Hometown was also proactive during startup of the central system, including helping trouble shoot initial issues.
Finally, the complexity of the mechanical systems and full commissioning process required a high level of project management and coordination by Hometown’s staff both in the office and in the field; under the leadership of Kirk Baker, Steve Brown, and Troy Young, Hometown did an exceptional job in helping make the project successful. Design Engineers would welcome the chance to work with Hometown Plumbing and Heating on future projects.