Lochinvar® Cuts Heating Costs by Nearly 50 Percent

Case Studies

by Lochinvar Marketing Department | 07/20/2009

The Northern Indiana Center for History, located in South Bend, Indiana, is a museum comprising two historic houses, "Copshaholm" and the "Worker’s Home"; three galleries that feature changing exhibits; galleries that explore the history of the St. Joseph River Valley, the University of Notre Dame, and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League; as well as a children’s museum.

Built in 1896, Copshaholm is the 38-room mansion of 20th century industrialist and area philanthropist J.D. Oliver. The 12,000 square-foot building and its adjacent carriage house were constructed of native Indiana fieldstone, which was cut on-site by European masons. One of the first homes in South Bend to have electricity, the Oliver Mansion features oak, cherry and mahogany woodwork, as well as leaded glass windows and 14 fireplaces. Surrounding the home are two-and-a-half acres of landscaped gardens, including a garden tea house, formal Italianate garden, rose garden, pergola, tennis lawn, and fountain. The home and its gardens are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the mansion is registered as an American Treasure.

A Need for Change
Edward J. White, Inc, a full-service plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor that has served northern Indiana and southern Michigan since 1925, has serviced the estate for decades. Originally, the building's heating system was a coal-fired gravity hot water system, so it had no circulation pump and used larger piping than systems built today. The pumps were later added when the system was converted to a forced hot water system many years ago. Until recently, the building was heated by Pacific Boilers that were estimated to have been installed in the 1920s. Paul White, CEO of the family-owned company, estimates that Edward J. White, Inc converted the original boilers from oil to gas approximately 30 years ago.

Two years ago, Tom Rapach, director of facilities and grounds, discovered that the Center had a tube leak in one of the boilers and contacted Edward J. White, Inc. Paul and his team recommended replacing the boilers rather than repairing them since future tube failures were imminent given the age of the equipment. Replacing the boilers would reduce the amount of energy used to heat the Center and lower the operating costs. Also, the high heat level and inconsistency in room temperature did not meet museum standards for the preservation of the mansion and the museum's collection.

Ready for the Challenge
Paul and his team believed the lack of outdoor reset created too much heat for the museum in mild weather. The system had three large zone pumps and fluctuating flow rates. In addition, bringing the combustion air and venting up to today’s code requirements would be difficult because of the building’s age and the boiler location.

When considering what type of boiler would best meet the needs of the Center, they determined that it should be a high-efficiency model with PVC direct-vent design and outdoor air reset. The team also wanted 500 MBH boilers with simple sequencing.

Since Paul was familiar with Lochinvar's KNIGHT® Heating Boiler from previous installations, he knew it could offer all of these features at a reasonable price. The project's calculated design load was 1500 MBH, so he selected three KBN500 models to meet demand while minimizing the up-front costs.

Removing the old boilers was a rather challenging process because they sat in individual pits in the mechanical room. Paul and his team had to extract the boilers from these pits and then fill in the holes with concrete, which took quite a bit of time.

However, once this removal process was complete, the installation of the new boilers went smoothly and quickly due to the KNIGHT's lightweight design, small footprint and ease of set-up through the KNIGHT’s exclusive SMART SYSTEM™ control.

Great Success
Since the installation, Tom and the other directors have been very impressed with the new KNIGHT Heating Boilers and, specifically, the cost-savings they have seen on their utility bills. During the 2005-2006 heating season, the total cost of heating the center was $82,273.

The amount spent on energy bills throughout the 2006-2007 heating season dropped to $43,985, which is a 46 percent difference. Based on these numbers, payback for the new system is expected to be realized in less than two years. More information on the Northern Indiana Center for History can be found at www.centerforhistory.org. Additional information on the KNIGHT Heating Boiler and other high-efficiency products from Lochinvar is available at www.lochinvar.com.