Southwest HVAC News
New Engineered Plastic Cooling Tower Helps Keep Tenants Fresh In Broiling LA Heat Wave.
On what would normally have been
a mild autumn day, on September 27, Southern California was
blasted by a record-breaking heat wave with temperatures spiraling
upwards to 116 degrees in the Los Angeles basin. The heat was far
above the normal highs, which would typically be in the
Naturally, the fierce heat
combined with high humidity would be a considerable challenge to
maintaining the air conditioning in buildings of all types, but
particularly in office buildings, where tenants can be
particularly sensitive to uncomfortable temperatures.
Happily for the tenants of an LAX
Airport Center office building, the cooling tower that works in
conjunction with the building’s HVAC chillers had just been
replaced. So, rather than having to endure the sweltering heat,
the tenants remained cool and comfortable in their offices.
“This was a very fortunate
situation,” says Pat McGuire, sales manager of Centrifugal
Technologies, Inc. (Azusa, CA), a longtime air conditioning
specialist who worked with L.A.T. Investment Corporation, the
owner of 5777 West Century Boulevard, on the new tower design and
specifications A 16-story, 500,000-sq. ft. structure built in
1982, the office complex was originally equipped with injector
continues below ↓
“This was a
conventional system design back in the 1980s,” McGuire explains,
“but over time the injectors can corrode and clog, causing
performance and maintenance problems.” To replace or upgrade? As
a mechanical contracting HVAC specialist, McGuire, of Centrifugal
Technologies, often evaluates newer cooling tower designs for both
new and replacement installations. “We felt that a newer type of
cooling tower, designed with a shell of engineered plastic, would
be more efficient and less maintenance-intensive for the
application than simply replacing the old injector system with a
new one,” McGuire says.
plastic cooling tower, innovated by Delta Cooling Towers
(Rockaway, NJ), has been used in industrial and commercial
applications of many types because of its inherent resistance to
corrosives as well as high-efficiency features. Because the 5777
West Century Boulevard building was located near Los Angeles
International Airport, it was exposed to the corrosive effects of
industrial effluents, jet fuels and the nearby Pacific salt air.
Those corrosive effects as well as prevailing high humidity no
doubt were contributing to the increasingly waning performance of
the building’s old injector cooling tower system. McGuire was
convinced that the Delta plastic model would be best for this
application. “I like the Delta design,” he says.
plastic shell is impervious to UV light, pH or corrosives, so it’s
very low in maintenance. The tower operates well in high humidity.
The shell has a 15-year warranty, which is unique in the cooling
tower industry. Also, I think it’s got strong price advantages.”
The model that McGuire recommended was a single, 500-ton Delta TM
series cooling tower to replace the old injector tower. The
high-efficiency TM Series is an induced draft, counter flow design
that is modular, and capable of providing from 250 to over 2,000
The cooling tower
fan runs off a variable-speed drive, so the fan runs slower,
consumes less energy and creates less wear and tear on the motors.
In offi ce building applications, the variable-speed fan gradually
starts in the morning as the weather warms, typically running at
30 percent until it shuts off in the evening. Going with the new
technology Still, there was the matter of convincing building
management and ownership that switching to a new cooling tower
technology was the right thing to do.
Technologies had serviced our cooling towers and chillers for
about 20 years, so we had a lot of faith that Pat’s
recommendation was solid,” says Barron Lowery, the building’s
Chief Engineer. “The main factor that convinced us that we
should go with the engineered plastic cooling tower was the
avoidance of unhappy tenants. Plus, we learned that if we replaced
the old cooling towers with the newer technology, we would have
lower operational costs and could avoid the need to replace the
tower for quite a bit longer.” Lowery says that because the new
Delta tower promised higher efficiency, cooling would be greatly
Therefore he would
avoid the need to engage the backup system during peak demand
periods in the middle of the day. “That would save us money and
save on energy consumption. So, it was the green thing to do, and
we decided to go with it,” he says. And a few weeks after
installation, when the uncharacteristic heat wave hit the Los
Angeles basin, the new cooling tower was put to an extreme test.
“It performed very well,” Lowery says. “In fact, I would say
it exceeded everyone’s expectations. And the tenants all stayed
information, contact Delta Cooling Towers, Inc., 41 Pine Street,
Rockaway, NJ 07866; Phone (800) BUY.DELTA (289.3358); Fax
973.586.2243; E-mail: sales@deltacooling. com; or visit the web
site: www. deltacooling.com? Ed Sullivan is a technology writer
based in Hermosa Beach, California.