Serenbe village, a 1,000-acre sustainable community development located 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, features some of the greenest homes, even boasting some that are net-zero. In addition to the development, Serenbe founder Steve Nygren teamed up with Bosch Thermotechnology North America to promote green living, and to host the Bosch Experience Center. Bosch opened the educational and interactive demonstration center in partnership with Serenbe on May 31, 2013. Visitors now have the opportunity to see an array of Bosch products and solutions inside this first-of-its-kind Experience Center, which showcases a suite of Bosch energy-efficient solutions, including aluminum structural materials from Bosch Rexroth, ENERGY STAR recognized appliances, diesel systems, heating and cooling technology, power tools, security and sound systems, and a solar photovoltaic panel.
There was only one minor issue with the Center, however: The hydronic and heating equipment was not connected as a working display. It was agreed that the Bosch Experience Center lacked that “experience” wow factor quality because the products and systems on display were not integrated.
It was during a meeting with Richard Soper, Bosch North America CEO/president, that SAE Sales, manufacture’s rep for Bosch Thermotechnology Corporation— responsible for Georgia, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida—discussed ideas of transforming the Experience Center display to a fully operational working hydronic system. “Richard wanted it to be an ‘EXPERIENCE,’ eye catching and working — a touch and feel EXPERIENCE,” said Mike Easterley, SAE sales.
Bringing hydronics to life
Easterley knew right away who could transform the display into a working, interactive learning hydronic system. “I told Richard we had the perfect guy — Kenny Greene, K.E. Greene Mechanical/Hydronics, Holly Springs, Ga. Greene had visited the Center a couple of times while attending Bosch training and Bosch ABC contractor meetings so he was very familiar with the layout. “I explained the situation and the task and Kenny took off, sketching and submitting ideas. We also discussed projects he had done in the past. We agreed, submitted the ideas along with cost to Bosch, and Kenny was selected for the job,” said Easterley.
Among the initial challenges on the job, Greene recalls the first minor hiccup had to do with the gas meter upgrade. The showroom, now finished, needed an added substantial load to the existing gas piping. The easiest and least expensive way to do this was to increase the pressure to 2psi. “We passed inspection but the city would not release the meter because they said that there was no gas at the location,” said Greene.
The next challenge was interesting. “Once everything was piped in, we attempted to demonstrate the tankless unit. The unit would not start when a faucet was opened. The tankless would start if the pressure relief valve was opened,” said Greene. This indicated a no flow situation due to a cross connection in the piping. After inspecting the piping, which included cutting drywall, it was discovered:
- The hot water supply line coming from the water heaters was piped into the cold water line.
- The 1/2″ recirc pump line coming from the recirc pump was tied into the plumbing but we could not tell where without cutting a lot of drywall and moving built in appliances.
- There was no recirc pump output check valve
- The hot water plumbing supply pipe was not tied in at the sinks and was capped.
Because the building had been in service for several years, the only way that they were getting hot water at the sinks was due to backflow from the recirc pump. “Needless to say, they never had instant hot water at the sink. The tankless unit would not fire as it had reverse flow,” said Greene.
The repair included:
- Tie in hot water supply pipe to the sink fixture piping.
- Tie in the recirc line to the new hot water supply line
- Add a check valve to the recirc pump
- Cap the old recirc connection and the old hot connection that was tied into the cold water piping.
“We were a little aggressive with our timeline and had to back off a little. We were looking to start before Christmas 2013 and complete by mid-January but the cold weather hit Atlanta area and the project was delayed,” said Easterley. The working display is now up and running.
The Experience Center now has working products, which includes demonstrating the wall-hung gas condensing Bosch Greentherm Tankless Water Heaters and a Bosch Greenstar Combi boiler. Along with a working radiant floor, which includes a 6×4 Uponor Quick Trac system, a Bosch indirect water heater, Bosch panel radiators, Bosch geothermal heat pumps and electric heat pump water heater, and a hi-velocity air handler are all on display.
For the heating system, Greene says, customers can now experience radiant floor heat, panel radiators and hydronic coil heat. “For the domestic hot water, we can demonstrate the combi boiler, tankless water heater, solar water heater and indirect water heater,” explained Greene. The Bosch representative can choose which heating system to operate with the thermostats and which domestic hot water system to demonstrate simply by opening the hot water out ball valve and closing the others not being demonstrated.
“Now the salesperson will be able to easily demonstrate all of the systems so the customer can see the product live and understand the hydronic heating concept,” said Greene.
The master plan is to utilize the Bosch Experience Center with local events, industry association meetings, contractor training, builders, engineers and architect seminars and wholesaler events.
The Bosch Experience Center is open for business 10 to 5:30 PM Thursday – Sunday and available for special events. The contact at the Center is Tona Reynolds: 678-545-6544; email: email@example.com.
Bosch Experience Center
10640 Serenbe Lane
Chattahoochee Hills, GA 30268
For more information on Bosch Heating and Cooling products, visit http://www.bosch-climate.us.
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