Smart Solutions

Animal Shelter Cuts Energy Costs, Improves Environment with Greenheck Fans and Air Systems

With Greenheck fans and air systems, the Almost Home Animal Shelter dramatically reduced its energy costs and improved the indoor air quality for the animals, employees, and visitors.

For its new, expanded facility, the Almost Home Animal Shelter in Fort Dodge, IA, needed an air handling system that would heat and cool while saving energy, improve indoor air quality for employees and visitors as well as the animals, eliminate odors, and remove humidity. Not only did Greenheck products meet all of those needs, but the equipment paid for itself in less than two years, thanks to reduced energy costs.

The non-profit Humane Society of North Central Iowa opened the new 10,000-square-foot Almost Home shelter in September 2010. The new facility replaces two old buildings that had served as the community animal shelter with a combined size of 2,500 square feet. Although four times the size of the old shelters, the new shelter’s annual energy bills for gas and electric are just $16,600 compared to the old shelter’s annual bill of $25,000.

The new facility has 32 indoor/outdoor kennels as well as offices, a veterinarian room, a training room, and a community center for board meetings, community functions, and even birthday parties. Separating kennel air from the office and the community center area was important to prevent odor infiltration.

Optimizing Energy Efficiency

Two Greenheck dedicated outdoor air systems with heating, cooling, and a total enthalpy energy wheel (Model ERCH) were installed at the new animal shelter to service the office area and the kennel area separately. The dedicated outdoor air systems employ total enthalpy energy recovery wheels, modulating supply and exhaust fans, and CO2-based demand control systems for optimum energy efficiency.

Model ERCH combines the benefit of a total energy wheel with supplemental heating and cooling. Fresh outdoor air is preconditioned year-round by the enthalpy wheel, recovering up to 80 percent of the heating and cooling energy contained in the exhaust air. The enthalpy wheel also removes the humidity from the warm Iowa summer air prior to entering the cooling coil, reducing the overall tonnage required to temper the fresh outdoor air and greatly reducing energy usage.

Factory-mounted variable frequency drives (VFDs), modulated by CO2 levels, further enhance the units’ efficiency by only delivering the required amount of outdoor air to the space. Ceiling exhaust fans (Model SP) and an inline cabinet fan (Model CSP) were installed to remove stale air from all areas as well as excessive moisture from the frequently washed kennel area, ensuring fresh, comfortable, odorless air for both people and animals.

Actual energy savings were much greater than originally anticipated. The original ventilation plan did not include the two Greenheck energy recovery units, and annual energy costs for the building were projected to be $40,000– $50,000. Larry Clement, a board member for the animal shelter, says the two Model ERCH units paid for themselves in less than two years based on the actual annual energy costs they experienced since the shelter opened.

“We know that the savings will continue for many years to come, and that’s important to our operations budget,” Clement said. “We couldn’t be happier with the quiet operation and the quality of indoor air. You don’t hear the fans running at all. And with 12–15 air exchanges per hour in the office area and the kennel area, there are absolutely no odors present in the office or community center area. We had a lot of respect for the quality of Greenheck products prior to installing them, but this ventilation system has exceeded our expectations, and those expectations were high.”

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