Article: Boilers and Water Heaters Fill Vacancy for Efficient and Reliable Performance

D.C. Hotel Saves More Than $100,000 Annually

At a luxury Capitol Hill hotel in Washington, D.C., the water-heating system, which consisted of two 16,000-MBtu fire-tube boilers and two large indirect water heaters that ran off the boilers, dated to the Carter administration. Because they were nearly 40 years old, the boilers had to operate continuously to prevent leaskage. Although the system was designed with 100-percent redundancy, it had no isolation valves, so the unit firing had to produce extra hear just to temper the cold water flowing through an off boiler. As a result, the system was operating at only 50 percent to 60 percent efficiency.

This equated to a fuel bill that was considerably over budget. Annual natural-gas consumption was approximatly 270,000 therms. At a projected cost of $1.418 per therm, the hotel's annual natural-gas expenditure was approximately $383,000, of which 80 percent was attributed to the old boilers. Moreover, an additional $29,000 was spent on system maintenance each year.

Making matters worse, guests complained they had no hot water during critical periods of peak capacity. If such a situation continued, the long-term approval ratings of the five-star hotel would suffer. When it elected to upgrade the heating and hot-water system, hotel management was seeking economic relief and high reliability. Additionally, it wanted the retrofit completed in under three months. The fast turnaround was necessary to maintain the reputation of the hotel, whose guests enjoy 838 upscale rooms and suites, as well as a fitness center, pool, and sauna.

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