With close to one hundred Spirovents installed on campus, The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is one of our largest higher-ed customers. Installations include academic and research buildings, residence halls, and central plants. Two 30" custom designed high velocity combination air / dirt separators are installed in parallel at the City Campus Plant and one custom 24" high velocity combination unit in the East Campus Plant.
Excerpts from a nationally published case history...
It isn’t always easy to sell the idea of preventive maintenance to folks who have to answer to budgets and ROI. John Heise, housing special projects manager for the University of Nebraska Lincoln, however, is a firm believer. To Heise, it’s all about opportunity. “The motivation is simple,” he explains. “If you don’t let your system get dirty, you don’t have to clean it. Installing Spirotherm is an example of one of the steps being taken to seize the opportunity.”
The housing buildings at the Lincoln campus of the University of Nebraska (UNL) range in age from almost 80 years old to new, and all have varying HVAC systems. Heise’s preventive maintenance philosophy assures the residents’ comfort with the installation of Spirovent® combination air/dirt separators.
The relationship between Spirotherm and UNL started when Heise purchased a couple of small boilers for one of the University Park Apartment buildings. The building had always had air problems so it suggested they install a Spirovent air separator as well. Before the Spirovent was installed, they had always dreaded draining that particular hydronic system for maintenance because of the weeks of bleeding they knew they faced. A week after the installation they couldn’t locate any air in the system at all. “When it comes to operation and performance, it’s comforting to know that you can just bolt it up and forget it,” says Heise of the Spirovent.
Heise wasn’t the only one on campus who was impressed with the Spirovent. Jim DeCamp, Lead Plumber for Building Systems Maintenance, saw a demonstration of the Spirovent and convinced the Architecture and Engineering people to specify Spirovents on all new projects involving hydronic systems while he made sure that Spirovents were installed on the facilities retrofit jobs.
DeCamp recalls that the Nebraska Union student center was having a terrible problem with dirt accumulating in the heating hot water system. This particular system switches between heating and cooling with the chilled water being supplied from the university’s central utility plant. Because the system is not a permanently closed loop within the building, the center is supplied with dirty water in the cooling mode. When the system switches, the chilled water is heated and dirt precipitates out of the water and deposit in the coils, strainers and associated piping. As a result, the facilities maintenance team was constantly flushing coils and cleaning strainers. They even had to replace a large section of pipe because it was too badly plugged to be flushed clean. The existing air separator was removed and replaced with a Spirovent combination air/dirt separator. Steve Waltman, lead building service tech, was amazed at the large amount of sludge that poured out of the drain the first time the Spirovent unit was blown down. Now, coils and piping are no longer getting plugged. Says Waltman, “The Spirotherm has definitely done the job they said it would do.”
Both Heise and DeCamp agree that increased performance and decreased maintenance calls add up to significant savings for the university, and Spirotherm has been an integral part of those savings. DeCamp says, “We immediately noticed that we had almost no service calls for lack of flow due to air-locked piping where the new devices were installed.” Heise adds, “Without exception, we have realized significant performance improvement in our systems where Spirovent units have been installed.”