The 14-story Union National Bank Building in downtown Wichita came with a rich history. When it was completed in 1926, it was the tallest building in Kansas. In 1958, it was the site of one of the nation’s first sit-ins to protest service discrimination. That kind of history increases a property’s value and interest – but also imposes constraints on renovation efforts. A developer who specializes in turning historical properties into upscale urban hotels took this project on and engaged us for full mechanical systems engineering within the building. The building was essentially gutted for the renovation.
Working to retain the historic exterior while installing modern systems, comprehensive 3-D software model of the building was first created. The model allowed us to design all systems and incorporate them with the other renovation work. This helped identify several conflicts in the initial plans, and work with the architects and other contractors to resolve the issues before construction even started. The building also imposed space constraints. We recommended and installed a variable refrigerant flow system, which is both highly efficient and allows simultaneous heating and cooling within the same structure using the same system. Among other efficiencies, energy is captured and re-circulated from the building’s many exhaust fans. These systems require less space and have the added advantage of quiet operation. The result is precise environmental control that perfectly meets the expectations of hotel guests while keeping operational and maintenance costs low for the operator.
“Guests expect modern conveniences and efficiency, even in historic buildings.”
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