OBJECTIVE: Given Jackson County Board of Education budget restrictions, provide a highly cost-effective air conditioning solution for the North Jackson Elementary multi-use gymnasium, which had never been air conditioned.
The North Jackson Elementary School Gym is a typical metal framed structure that houses a full-size maple hardwood basketball court as well as offices and restrooms. In addition to daily PE classes, most school functions (assemblies, graduations and general meetings) are also held in the space. A traditional air conditioning conversion for this space would involve a package unit on the ground and fabricated ductwork running up the side of the building, through the gymnasium wall, and continued down the center of the gym. The primary issue with this standard application is associated cost. The school estimated costs of nearly $15,000 to convert the 200-amp single phase electric service to three phase in order to meet the needs of a 30-ton package unit. Necessary ductwork was estimated at another $15,000 and associated equipment costs were close to $22,000. At a price tag of nearly $52,000, the project was not likely to gain Board of Education approval. Josh Patton, the HVAC Foreman for Jackson County Board of Education, had recent experience with using LG duct-free products during a cafeteria conversion he had completed in June 2011. Josh used LG Multi-F products to provide supplemental cooling in the cafeteria space as a cost-effective alternative to adding ductwork. The school district was impressed with the performance and efficiency of LG’s duct-free solution.
In partnership with the local LG Representative and Wholesaler, Josh proposed a design that met the cooling requirements based on load calculations for the gymnasium space, while also working within Board of Education budget restrictions. The resulting system included 8 indoor units around the perimeter of the gym discharging air towards the center, and 3 ceiling cassettes in the center of the gym discharging air in a 4-way pattern. The 12 indoor units and 7 outdoor units operate independently of each other and provide load matching capability far beyond a single system utilizing a single thermostat. The systems were installed on the existing electric service, effectively eliminating the costs associated with an electric service upgrade. Additionally, the Inverter Systems allowed Jackson County Schools to remove space heaters, also eliminating the gas bill for heating the gym in the winter. During a graduation ceremony in May 2012, the gym was able to maintain set point (68 degrees F) with nearly 400 people present. “I had hoped we could maintain 78-80 degrees, and can’t believe how well the system performed under these conditions,” said Josh Patton, HVAC Foreman for Jackson County Board of Education. Using the LG technology not only enabled them to stay within budget, it allowed them to exceed their estimates for conversion. Georgia Power provided a rebate for using the high-efficiency systems to further offset the costs. “I saved more than $10,000 by using the LG Systems on this job before we even factor in operating savings,” added Josh.