JCM Controls Upgrades Ventilation at UMD’s School of Architecture

Adequate building ventilation has always been an important issue for indoor air quality and comfort.

JCM Control Systems, based in Baltimore, was hired by Constellation Energy to do an energy upgrade of University of Maryland College Park’s School of Architecture. “They wanted to conserve energy as it related to retrofitting its HVAC equipment,” says Joshua Matthews, president of JCM Control Systems.

JCM went to work replacing four existing air handling units with new, more energy efficient units. The work included installing all electrical, VAV boxes and associated valves, valve packages, piping, and a new floor drain.

“The air handlers that were taken out were the old belt drives. The new ones operated with much smaller VFD fans with a lot more horsepower to them. It was a comprehensive system that allowed the university to have a top-level discharge supply air system with make-up air and all of the details in the envelope that they initially wanted,” says Alphonso Washington, senior project engineer.

The project had some challenges to overcome. There was limited space for JCM to demolish and remove the old air handling units. In addition, the original design for the installation of the new units wouldn’t fit the building’s mechanical room. Additional physical chokepoints included the buildings structural overhang, which created logistics issues through the only existing entry point for the rigging required to lift the units in and out of the space.

Going above and beyond, JCM got to work coming up with a solution. Washington provided his design/build skills and worked in conjunction with Min Engineering on his personal time, and weekends to help re-design the entire project drawings, design a temporary heating plan for the building, and manage the project from start to finish.

“We were able to bring equipment into the building without having to take anything apart, using some of the most sophisticated rigging equipment to date to do something like that,” says Matthews.

“UMCP now has an upgraded system that saves them and the taxpayer money.” For their work on the UMCP project, JCM Control Systems won an ABC Award of Excellence in the Mechanical Over $1 Million category.