Air-Handling Improvements Lab @ Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant

Air-Handling Improvements Lab @ Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant

Sidhu Associates utilized an innovative approach to resolve environmental and control problems for the laboratory building at Back River Waste Water Treatment Plant (BRWWTP) in Baltimore.  For this award winning project, the owner had faced serious indoor environmental problems including uncomfortable levels of space temperature and humidity, the transfer of fine particle contaminants from deteriorating duct liner into the occupied spaces, chemical odor due to a lack of proper space pressurization, and high energy operating costs to comply with higher ventilation air requirements for fume hood operations. The entire air distribution system was replaced to reduce energy consumption.  To improve air quality, the exhaust hoods were manifolded and the individual fume hood exhaust fans were replaced with new.  The BRWWTP produced odorous and pollutant digester gas in the process of sludge treatment which was being released into the atmosphere.  The possibility of using digester gas as an energy source for an HVAC system was proposed with an opportunity to conserve energy operating costs and reduce pollution. One electric chiller and two condensing units were replaced with a digester gas-fired absorption chiller/heater. This absorption chiller/heater simultaneously generates chilled water for cooling and hot water for heating.  The use of digester gas; conversion to VAV, HVAC and fume hood systems and modernizing controls resulted in annual savings of $74,000 in energy cost, including 414,763 KWH of electricity and 1,280,154 cu. ft. of gas.  The absorption chiller ensures complete combustion of digester gas to reduce air pollution to community environment.  Further, the absorption chiller is environmentally friendly equipment using pure water as a refrigerant minimizing global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer.  The design is being hailed as an innovative concept in that it accomplishes superior indoor air quality while simultaneously reducing energy consumption, outside air pollution, and improving system reliability.  The winners are the owner, surrounding communities and the occupants of the buildings.

BRWWTP AHI Lab

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January 5, 2015