BrandsMart USA – Gwinnett County, Georgia

Smart design helps big-box retailer reduce the size of its energy bills

Sustainable practices are old hat for discount big-box chain BrandsMart USA, a 30-year-old retailer with nine stores throughout the Southeast United States. Years ago, the appliance, electronics and house wares retailer purchased the site of a former GM® parts distribution plant in Doraville, Georgia, for its first Atlanta-area store. Before building its new facility, the company carefully disassembled the entire outdated 700,000-sq.-ft. plant, recycling the wood, selling the steel for reuse and crushing and reusing all the existing concrete to build a new 130,000-sq.-ft. retail store.

When the company chose to build a new Gwinnett County, Georgia, retail store designed to achieve Silver LEED® certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the decision was largely a financial one. Although using sustainable building design and incorporating innovative, highly efficient operating systems to supply the facility’s water, electricity and heating and cooling would increase initial costs approximately 3 percent, the advanced design would significantly reduce operating costs after the building opened in August 2009.

“Reducing our utility bills was the primary goal,” says BrandsMart’s Larry Levine. “Being a responsible corporate citizen has always been our company’s mainstay and building a LEED-certified retail store is just an extension of where we have come from. It’s cost-effective for our company, too.”

Responsible, revolutionary design

Levine worked with BrandsMart’s lead architect Ken McGee and environmental consulting company EDI to create a sustainable facility with features such as a rain runoff system that would supply water to the campus. Levine approached Lennox representatives at a trade show to inquire about energy efficient HVAC systems, after he became aware that many of BrandsMart’s competitors were doing business with.

Lennox to reduce their operating costs and control energy consumption.

“To help reduce BrandsMart’s energy bills as much as possible, we selected Strategos™ rooftop units with MSAV™ (multi-stage air volume) supply fan technology to conserve energy during part load conditions,” explains Terry Buchanan, Lennox National Account Manager. “The variable-frequency drive makes the units extremely efficient in part load conditions, and Strategos’ Integrated Modular Controller (IMC) provides excellent control over system setup, operation and troubleshooting.”

Installing the Strategos units would also help the company reach its other goal of creating a healthy indoor working environment for BrandsMart employees. “Airflow settings on MSAV units can be easily modified in the field, and with multiple levels of airflow, Strategos units provide just the right amount of conditioning to keep employees and customers comfortable while controlling energy use,” Buchanan says.

Buchanan next worked with BrandsMart’s Duluth, Georgia, contractor, Shumate Mechanical, to install a demand-control ventilation system with CO2 sensors. By monitoring carbon dioxide levels to assess occupancy levels, the system allows the appropriate amount of fresh air ventilation without wasting energy when occupancy is low.

Taking the LEED

Lennox also served as the LEED Commissioning Agent for the project to ensure that all mechanical systems operate at full efficiency and are in compliance with LEED standards.

That entailed monitoring the installed HVAC system and building controls, making any necessary changes for proper operation and leading on-site training on servicing equipment.

“This is an unusually high level of service from an HVAC dealer,” says Levine. “Usually these are the responsibility of a third-party mechanical contractor. This level of service – and the remarkable energy efficiency of the Strategos units – set Lennox’ National Accounts program apart from out experiences with other manufacturers.”

As Levine says, “We’ve been extremely satisfied with this project, and every aspect of this development has just made good business sense.”

Product Overview:

Unit/Quantity - Strategos™ Rooftop Units/22

Controls - Integrated Modular Controller

IAQ - Demand Control Ventilation with CO2 Sensors

General Contractor:

Conlan Company, Marietta, Georgia

Garrett Plyler, Project Manager

Steve Williams, Foreman

Mechanical Contractor:

Shumate Mechanical, Duluth, Georgia

Dan Smith, Sales

Chris Floyd, Project Manager

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