When it came time to provide temporary heating during construction of the Conrad Indianapolis Hotel, general contractor Hunt Construction turned to Mobile Air Inc., headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich.

Phil Panarisi, the Indianapolis branch manager for Mobile Air, and his team devised a temporary heat program that was so efficient it earned a prestigious award from the Energy Solutions Center (ESC). The ESC is a technology commercialization and market development organization representing energy utilities, municipal energy authorities, and equipment manufacturers and vendors.

The mission of the center is to accelerate the acceptance of and deployment of new, energy-efficient gas-fueled technologies that enhance the operations and productivity of commercial and industrial energy users, and improves comfort and reliability for residential energy users.

“We designed and sized the temporary heat system using our knowledge and past experience to get the load sizing correct, furnished all of the heating equipment, and monitored the heat and relative humidity throughout the project,” said Panarisi, noting the load reached over 12 million Btu.

The complexity of building one of Hilton Hotels’ luxurious hotels, coupled with Hunt’s aggressive timetable, made heating the construction site a challenge for the company. “There was a lot of delicate finish work, a lot of glass, a lot of marble, and a lot of wood with special needs,” said Walter Strong, project manager for Hunt. “All the condominiums were custom-built, so you have some with gunite finishes, while the next person chose marble and granite, while the next person has rare imported wood work - all of which required different temperatures and humidity.”

Panarisi made sure the heat was distributed evenly and to where it was needed. “We were very fortunate that adequate natural gas was available,” he said.

Beyond the cost advantages, he pointed to its flexibility. “You can control relative humidity when you burn natural gas by introducing and controlling the intake of outside air,” he explained, referring to it as the company’s dry heat system.

“That’s significant in a building project like this, because it affects all of the finishes. And it’s Indiana, so you never know what the weather is going to be like. There were a lot of variables.”

But the benefits of the company’s dry heat system goes beyond supplying even temperatures and low controlled humidity levels, said Panarisi.

“It helps keep the jobsite safe,” he explained. “First, we make sure that there is good indoor air quality. Our calculated air changes purge the structure of any noxious fumes and offgassing that takes place inside and replaces it with warm, dry outside air.

“Secondly, our system enables us to use fewer heating units located in out-of-the-way areas of the jobsite. There is not a need to move the heaters around the site to keep things warm. This enables the gas hose and electrical power cords to be safely positioned out of the way, never lying on the ground for equipment to run over them.”

In the end, Mobile Air was able to produce even heat flow throughout the building during the construction project, which began in July 2005. The Conrad Indianapolis opened earlier this year.

“This was a top notch project from the ground up and we’re just so pleased and honored to have been a part of such a successful project,” said Panarisi. “Winning the award was the icing on the cake.”

For more information, visit www.mobileair.com.

Publication date:07/09/2007