The P1 Group of Kansas City improved efficiency of equipment with the installation of York International chiller products.

America’s leading outdoor retailer is taking on the indoors - inside its corporate headquarters, that is. Specifically, Springfield, Missouri-based Bass Pro Shops recently completed a massive, physical plant overhaul at its corporate headquarters, increasing the facility’s efficiency, providing big savings, and potentially qualifying the retailer for an accelerated depreciation deduction for the cost of the new equipment, as allowed by the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

According to Bass Pro Shops’ director of facilities, Dan Hoy, the company’s multimillion dollar plant expenditure is expected to provide a huge return on its investment - both directly and indirectly.

And it all began when Bass Pro Shops started questioning the efficiency of its 1960s-era plant, originally designed to house electronics production for former tenant Zenith. Bass Pro Shops hired Kansas City-based P1 Group, experts in the electrical, mechanical, and building services industry, to conduct a study on just how inefficient the old plant was to its operations. P1 had already been effective in helping Bass Pro Shops renovate the chiller plant at its Springfield Outdoor World retail site.

“In its day, both the facility and equipment were efficient and made to last a lifetime,” said Hoy. “However, it was high time we asked ourselves if we could improve efficiency and reduce expenditures with today’s technological gains.”

Specifically, Bass Pro Shops and P1 overhauled the plant’s chilling equipment, cooling tower, boiler, and pumping plant. According to Hoy, the plant’s former tenant used the facility differently than Bass Pro Shops, which impacted Bass Pro Shops’ heating and cooling needs.

For example, Zenith needed to air condition 900,000 square feet of the 40-acre building, while Bass Pro Shops needed to cool 350,000 square feet. Likewise, an outdated incinerator required three staff people to share in around-the-clock duties of stoking it with old wooden pallets and other wood byproducts to generate enough steam energy to power the plant’s absorption chillers.

“This change was as much about right-sizing the equipment for our needs as it was replacing antiquated equipment,” said Hoy.

Guided by P1 Group’s study, P1 designed and installed an energy-efficient hybrid heating and cooling system. The new system leveraged modern technology and supplies, while automating the process.

Bass Pro Shops realized utility savings of $64,000 in one month since the installation of a new hybrid heating and cooling system, including Unilux and Patterson Kelly boilers.

Additionally, it operates off both high-efficiency and standard-efficiency equipment. The automation alone, said Hoy, eliminated the inconsistencies that occur through manual operation. For example, he said, dramatic temperature swings resulted from each of the three shifts assigned to operate the incinerator. Today, the consistency of automation has helped to reduce monthly utility costs.

“Bass Pro Shops took a good, hard look at its facility operations and evaluated whether it was safe, reliable, and efficient,” says P1 Group’s Rusty Roderick. “It was a smart business move, and it has paid off.”

In fact, since making the change in mid-2008, Hoy stated Bass Pro Shops benefited from a $64,000 utility savings for a singular month. To date, the average monthly utility savings is about $40,000.

As a side benefit, the change has reduced Bass Pro Shops’ carbon footprint as well. While Bass Pro Shops has long been known for its support of conservation efforts, the reality of having an eco-friendly system means the company is producing fewer CO2 emissions, and will have to devote less time to related Environmental Protection Agency reporting requirements.

Both Hoy and Roderick said the physical plant changes Bass Pro Shops has made to date were seamless, and has prompted the two to explore other areas to improve plant efficiency and reduce costs within its corporate headquarters.

Equipment used in the major renovation includes chillers from York International, high-efficiency condensing boilers from Patterson Kelly, large noncondensing boilers from Unilux, cooling towers from SPX Cooling Technologies-Marley, and pumps from Bell and Gossett.

P1 Group Inc. has created a proud tradition and proven performance record in the electrical and mechanical construction and building service industries, and has also been a regular attendee at The NEWS MechanicalXchange executive summit event.

Publication date: 04/27/2009