Fabric-Duct HVAC System Provides Energy Savings

OSKALOOSA, Iowa — Energy efficient HVAC systems are being lauded in a $25 million expansion project that added two new buildings to William Penn University’s 135-year-old campus.

The new 155,000-square-foot Penn Activity Center and 55,000-square-foot Musco Technology Center feature fabric ductwork, geothermal heating and cooling, and energy recovery ventilators. Cunningham Inc., the Oskaloosa-based contractor that installed the systems, was given an “Excellence in HVAC” first place award from the Associated Building Contractors of Iowa for the design.

According to Michael Vogt, project engineer for Cunningham, the fabric duct was not only cheaper to install but solved engineering obstacles presented by the activity center’s high ceiling.

“There’s a noticeable difference between the air comfort in the PAC and other large athletic buildings with metal duct/register systems,” Vogt says. “Plus, the college saved tens of thousands of dollars in installation labor costs because lightweight fabric duct is so much faster and safer for workers to install in elevated places.”

The activity center, now the largest building in Oskaloosa, is equipped with a multipurpose gymnasium and 300-meter running track. The technology center houses the university’s industrial technology and digital broadcasting, and other programs. The project was completed with a $12 million donation from Musco Sports Lighting. Musco President Joe Crookham is also the chair of the university’s board of trustees.

Crookham says the project’s design will give students the chance to study the effects of energy-efficient building practices and conservation measures in building management.