Saskatchewan Blue Cross Expansion


Saskatchewan Blue Cross underwent a large expansion of its head office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to accommodate its growing service alongside the growing province.  It added 3 storeys of office space along with a parkade.

Service completion: Winter 2015
Scope of services: Commissioning for system verification and testing
Size: 40,000 sq.ft.
Building systems: Chilled beams and radiant heating ceiling panels, fed by a condensing boiler and an air-cooled chiller.

Thurston Engineering Services was hired for system verification and testing, with the owner recognizing the immense benefit of this third party system tuning before occupancy.  In this project, Thurston Engineering Services found issues that, if not rectified, would have caused huge failures and expensive fixes in future.

It was found that the programmed calculation of dewpoint was calculating higher than actual, such that chilled water valves were closing (unnecessarily) in alarm to prevent a condensation situation that did not exist.  This was a tricky find: it is likely that this section of the building would have never cooled to an acceptable level.  Staff would have constantly complained to management that the space was too warm.  If these cooling valves never opened, the possibility existed that they would seize and require eventual replacement (costly if not found during commissioning or the warranty period).

As in other projects, the manufacturer’s controllers for boiler, chiller and air handling unit were not talking to building management system.  If the building management system could not talk to this equipment, who knows how this expensive equipment would have reacted to its perceived system needs and how long it would have taken the manufacturers to come up from the USA to fix the problem.

Finally, in the heating system, it was found that the variable frequency drive on a pump was fried; thus, lead/lag was down to 1 pump and, if that pump failed, the entire heating system would be susceptible to failure and damage.

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