Chicago, In Progress, Church
Our challenge: A Chicago church came to us with a great cathedral — one of the most beautiful rooms in all of Chicago. They wanted it cooled and didn’t know where to start. They needed help thinking through the feasibility, construction and cost impact on the building. Our experience of combining poetic concern and technical finesse in buildings was well suited for this church renovation project.
This building is a timeless work of art. The question is — How do we weave today’s science into it?
Our response: We explored the church’s current system, identified pockets of unused space for new equipment, studied their energy bills, and interviewed key congregation members. We established project criteria of aesthetics, acoustics, efficiency, comfort, and budget. Many possible solutions were imagined and then narrowed to the three that best suited this church. Collaborating with our engineers, we produced a series of 3D mechanical and architectural concept designs.
(2) 15-ton air-cooled condensers are mounted on a new steel frame on the roof, paired with (2) air handling units, which cool the rear of the church. A rooftop package unit located above the admin office cools the front half. (2) Mitsubishi mini-split systems heat and cool the smaller admin spaces and the attic ventilation is updated.
Using a heat pump loop, a single ‘air-cooled fluid cooler’ above the admin area pairs with (3) air handling units to cool the entire church. A new high-efficiency boiler is tied into the heat pump loop allowing the same air handlers to heat as well. (2) Mitsubishi mini-split systems heat and cool the smaller admin spaces and the attic ventilation is updated.
Rather than roof-mounted units and a new boiler, a geothermal piping system ties to the heat pump loop, allowing heating and cooling from the same 3 air handlers. (2) Mitsubishi mini-split systems heat and cool the smaller admin spaces and the attic ventilation is updated.
The existing steam boiler, piping, and radiators are replaced with a new high-efficiency hot water boiler, piping, and radiators located within existing sanctuary radiator niches.
Ellen Rothenberg, elsetime, 2015. Installation View, Sector 2337. Photo by Nathan Kirkman.