Three years ago, Campion Academy, a Christian boarding school of 165 students in Loveland, Colo., made plans to renovate 1920s-era Hankins Hall, one of the oldest and most beloved buildings on campus. Although the original plan was to replace Hankins Hall’s aging hot-water boilers with similar equipment, plumbing contractor Chambers Plumbing & Heating Inc. of Loveland persuaded the school and its mechanical engineer, PCD Engineering Inc. of Longmont, Colo., to go with more energy-efficient, versatile condensing gas boilers from Rinnai. One of the big selling points was the boilers’ outdoor-reset function and modulating pumps.

“The reason we thought the Rinnai boilers would do so well in this application was that they have the capability to monitor the ambient temperatures outside and heat the building according to those temperatures,” David Lohnes, president of Chambers Plumbing & Heating, said. “The fact that these boilers can modulate up and down so the heat load needed is met without overfiring and wasting energy made a big impact. So, instead of one or several boilers coming on all at once and producing an excessive amount of heat, only the unit or units necessary will fire and produce the ideal amount of heat needed for the conditions.”

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Installing multiple condensing boilers in a system also offers redundancy, meaning if one unit should happen to go down, the remaining boilers will continue functioning to ensure heating needs are met.

A positive experience with Rinnai equipment helped to solidify the choice.

“We’d actually had four Rinnai tankless water heaters installed earlier for domestic hot-water heating in another building on campus, and they’ve been very dependable,” Dean Helm, vice principal of finance for Campion Academy, said. “Plus, we were intrigued by the technological features of the boilers and the utility savings that can result from their high energy efficiency.”

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Attached to a dormitory and cafeteria, Hankins Hall has three floors. The first—the basement—consists of classrooms, while the second is the location of the campus chapel. The third floor is made up of meeting and classroom space. After disconnecting and removing the existing boilers, Chambers Heating & Cooling installed three wall-mounted natural-gas-powered Rinnai Q175S condensing boilers on the first floor. The Rinnai Q175S is a compact, high-efficiency boiler (95 percent maximum) with a maximum input of 175,000 Btu. The boilers were connected to provide heat to baseboard radiation on the first and second floors and cast-iron radiators on the third floor. There was no need for system balancing, as Rinnai’s self-balancing manifolds manage flow to all zones of the building as needed.

The project proceeded smoothly. Since reopening for occupation, the renovated Hankins Hall has been a big hit with Campion Academy students, faculty, and alumni, and the Rinnai condensing boilers have been performing efficiently and reliably.

“The Rinnai boilers at Hankins Hall are doing exactly what they are supposed to do and have not given us an ounce of trouble,” Helm said. “We’re happy with our choice.”

 

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