MADISON, WI — Since before the Civil War, the historic Paulding County Courthouse has been the downtown focal point in Dallas, GA.

Although its interior has been updated on many occasions to provide modern functionality, special precautions have always been taken to retain the unique character of its red-bricked facade.

Ten years ago, a new heating and air conditioning system was installed and, over time, building occupants began experiencing symptoms caused as a result of poor indoor air quality.

Employee productivity was low due to frequent headaches and general discomfort. Courtrooms on the second and third floors were often hot and stuffy in the summer and suffered from stale air year-round.

Time to call the contractor

County officials called on Lynn Wilson, Wilson Air Conditioning Service, Inc., Powder Springs, GA, to assess the situation.

Wilson, with the help of sales engineer Steve Greer, began to determine the functionality of the current hvac system, including a chilled-water system with numerous air handlers.

The contractor found that air intakes were drawing outside air filled with auto exhaust fumes and, because ventilation fans were not operating properly and certain specified pieces of ventilation equipment were never installed, contaminated air was able to enter the airshafts.

In addition, ductwork in the upper two floors was incomplete and ventilation in the courtrooms came from the hot, dusty attic.

Fresh air solutions

Wilson’s team of technicians repositioned the air intakes to eliminate drawing air filled with auto exhaust fumes.

Also, programmable override timers were installed on lower-level office controls. With these timers, the hvac equipment runs primarily during occupied times.

Wilson also added CO2 detectors to the upper-level courtroom controls to assist with late court sessions or after-hour meetings. As CO2 levels increase due to the influx of people, detectors sense the change and activate the heat recovery ventilator.

The improvements were completed with the installation of seven PerfectAire fresh air exchangers.

The exchangers (manufactured by Research Products Corp.) introduce a continuous supply of fresh air into the building, which is then distributed through the air handlers.

These units preheat or pre-cool the incoming air by using the energy in the exhaust air. By using this technique, conditioned air is easily able to remain at its intended temperature and electricity normally used to recondition the air is kept to a minimum.

The results of these changes have been positive. Building occupants no longer complain about stale air, and productivity remains steady due to the elimination of recurring headaches.