A Refreshing Project

At 149,000-sq-ft., the new service center at Bill Luke Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge in Phoenix is big. But it's also something else: a state-of-the-art facility marked by its high quality of interior air. After touring 40 Southwest car dealer service buildings prior to constructing the $9 million facility, dealer principal Don Luke knew exactly what he didn't want. After just a short visit to some service

At 149,000-sq-ft., the new service center at Bill Luke Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge in Phoenix is big. But it's also something else: a state-of-the-art facility marked by its high quality of interior air.

After touring 40 Southwest car dealer service buildings prior to constructing the $9 million facility, dealer principal Don Luke knew exactly what he didn't want.

“After just a short visit to some service departments we either had a headache or our clothes smelled like car exhaust,” recalls Luke, president of the 76-year-old store.

His air-quality solution isn't breathtaking, but it has escaped many engineers and dealerships in the past.

“You've got to pump in a lot of clean air and then suck it out,” says Luke.

Implementing his solution took innovative designing from the engineering department of Tri-City Mechanical, a Chandler, AZ-based mechanical contractor.

For a clean, neat and high-tech appearance, the Tri-City Mechanical engineering team used lightweight aesthetic fabric ductwork, 32 wall exhaust fans and evaporative coolers.

Even though Tri-City Mechanical operates a sheet metal shop with spiral metal duct fabrication capabilities, the design contractor specified fabric ductwork. DuctSox of Dubuque, IA, provided that.

Using fabric ducts, which require less man-hours to install, saved the project more than $15,000 in labor costs.

“As a contractor you want to keep your sheet metal shop working, but not at the expense of a client when something like fabric duct can save them money,” says Steve Mullins, director of pre-construction services.

The evaporative coolers supply zones with a 100% outdoor air. All indoor air is exhausted and not re-circulated.

Air induction and exhaust air are such to create a positive building pressure to push out unwanted engine combustion pathogens. It far exceeds government and industry standards, says Mullins.

He adds, “The four evaporative coolers vs. many smaller units cost less to operate. Plus, the larger coolers have a longer life expectancy. More importantly, this system is far more effective in indoor air comfort than the typical service department cooling strategy.”

Meanwhile, a network of carbon monoxide sensors automatically switch exhaust fans into a high-speed purge mode if CO levels get too high.

The project took a year to complete. It's the first of a 3-part, $22 million construction project that also will produce additional showroom space and a detail shop.

Mullins predicts Luke's facility might become the 21st Century standard for future auto service centers' heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.

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