In April 2000, when the 40-year-old air conditioner failed at the Southern California Gas branch payment office in Palm Springs, California, managers investigated both electric and gas replacement options. To upgrade the electric panel to enable electric air conditioning would have cost about $100,000. "We saved $100,000 off the top", by deciding to go with a natural gas system, reports Anne Smith, vice president of customer services and marketing at SoCalGas. Not only are the two 15-ton Goettl gas engine driven heat pumps that were selected "much more energy efficient than an electric motor/compressor, they are built and tested in Phoenix at temperatures above 95°F", says Smith. In the intervening year, the office has experienced "no problem whatsoever with keeping cool" under desert conditions that can reach 115° to 120°F. In fact, energy usage has dropped by 80%.

"There's a lot of interest in gas cooling in California. It's to everyone's advantage to go this way," Smith maintains. In the state over the last two years, Goettl has installed more than 400 tons of equipment in 15 and 20-ton heat pumps and 20-ton chillers. The company expects to offer 25 and 30-ton heat pumps and a 30-ton chiller in the near future.

In December 2000, a similar pair of 15-ton Goettl heat pumps was installed at the SoCalGas regional office in Anaheim to replace an electric unit and save on operating costs. According to Smith, these heat pumps are expected to save $8,400 annually, with a projected payback of 3.1 years, based on natural gas rates at the time of installation.

Also of note, in January 2001, just three weeks before the Bob Hope Classic, three 20-ton Goettl chillers were installed at La Quinta Resort, Palm Springs, to work in conjunction with a 100-ton electric chiller. As it turned out, the three gas units were able to carry the load through spring, giving the resort the flexibility to choose to operate without its electric air conditioner. For over 60 years Goettl Air Conditioning has designed and manufactured heating and air conditioning equipment for the harsh desert climate. Goettl is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information, contact Goettl Air Conditioning, Inc. at 602-275-1515 or go to

Publication date: 05/14/2001