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Important: The Incorporation of Energy Supply Rooms into Commercial Building Design

May 1, 2019 Important: Energy Supply Rooms and Commercial Building Design

The space requirements and emergency power systems needed in all commercial buildings does not rank particularly high on the top of a design list, however not taking this into consideration can mean that service personnel find themselves in extremely tight spaces meeting only the minimal safety requirement.

When it comes to the design of a building, it is important that emergency power system/energy supply rooms are championed early in the design process. It is imperative that there is open communication around this with designers, property developers and electrical engineers. It is far easier and less expensive to plan for adequate space in the design phase than to compromise on unit size and retrofit equipment to fit in cramped areas.

CASE STUDY 1: Waste Water Treatment Plant Generator Set Room Requirements

Challenge: Power supply to generators needed for a waste treatment plant in New Zealand.

Solution: 2 x custom SuperVault tanks for the job. In the image below you will see the two Fuelchief SuperVaults customised to fit into a space with extremely tight quarters. This is a prime example of a customer needing to fit a unit to a room instead of the other way around. These tanks require a custom design and this process can be challenging for both installers and design engineers.

Result: The good news is that Fuelchief were able to assist our customer with fitting a SwRI 95-03 compliant SuperVault tank in the tight space. Tanks were placed after shipment into the venue by installers and are functioning optimally for the plant.

The SuperVault is the only tank option that complies for rooms in buildings or alongside buildings where there is limited isolation distance and the area is a high traffic/populated area.

Images: Here are the tanks in location as the backup force for this generator room. As you can see, tight quarters indeed.

Fuelchief SuperVault Custom Made

Fuelchief SuperVault Custom Made

Tight fit Fuelchief SuperVault Power Supply Room

Tight fit Fuelchief SuperVault Power Supply Room


Image:
In an ideal situation where the room is designed for the tank leads to a situation such as below:

Fuelchief tanks considered for power supply room

Fuelchief tanks considered for power supply room

As you can see, when the room has been considered then the benefits are stellar:

• A standardised Fuelchief model can be used
• Quicker turn around with standard models
• Room for servicing and maintenance
• Health and safety is adhered and thought through at design phase
• The fuel tank can be located closer to the gen set thus ensuring shorter fuel run lines
• Piece of mind for inspectors and building owners as the SuperVault has been multi-hazard tested and can be repaired in the event of an extreme disaster (other tanks would need to be replaced completely, and imagine how hard that will be if given a tight situation?)

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING A GEN SET/POWER SUPPLY ROOM/MAIN SERVICES CENTRE/ PLANT ROOM

  • Generator sets are accessible
  • Compliance and code clearances are maintained
  • Major components can be removed and replaced
  • Clean and relatively cool air can circulate around the generator set
  • Ventilation airflow (room inlet airflow) is adequate to reject the heat produced during operation and support the engine combustion process
  • Recirculation and bypass airflow is minimized; noise and vibration within and outside the building complies with code requirements, and ancillary components external to the generator set operate reliably.

(source: www.cat.com)

Look down the road to the day extensive gen set and fuel tank repairs may be needed. Even the most reliable gen set, after thousands of hours of operation, will need some internal work and maintenance done. Will there be enough room for engine or generator disassembly? Can the unit be removed without major building alteration? You may want to specify a chain hoist or overhead crane into the room’s design for these heavy chores.

It’s a tough act to balance gen set space needs with other building service functions. But if you keep routine maintenance, future equipment repair needs and expansion considerations in mind, you will be able to offer your client an installation that allows the gen set to perform efficiently and reliably for years to come.

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