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Watch the New Generator Installation

 
 

Project Details

Industry
Real Estate

Installed power
500kW

Fuel type
Diesel

Generator model
HIPOWER HMW 510-T6U

Location
Houston, TX

Problem

To meet building code, the high-rise must have backup power installed, but the existing system was very old, didn’t meet current emissions standards, and required costly and lengthy repairs.

Objective

Replace the aging generator with a newer model that meets current emissions standards and has lower maintenance costs.

Solution

A 500kW diesel generator with custom modifications.

Result

The customer now has a reliable backup power source that satisfies relevant building codes, has remote monitoring capabilities, ensures the safety of residents, and can be serviced more quickly and cheaply thanks to broader availability of parts.

Background

Empty high rise luxury condo interior

The customer’s property was one of Houston’s first luxury highrises and remains a highly sought-after property. With over 100 units spread across three buildings, the backup power system must be able to support a sizable load, even if only for emergency systems. 

This includes exit egress lighting systems, fire detection and alarm systems, fire pumps, stair pressurization and smoke removal systems, designated elevators, and electrical transfer switch gear.

The Houston Fire Department’s Life Safety Bureau (LSB) has oversight power over the administration of emergency systems in multifamily building operations. 

According to LSB Standard 02, Rev. 02, condo generators must be “run checked” at least monthly and load tested annually, with “any failures…repaired or replaced as soon as possible.”

Challenges

The project posed several difficulties. 

First, the existing generator was located inside of a utility room on top of a three-story parking garage. Neither the old nor the new unit could be lifted or lowered directly into or out of the designated spot, making decommissioning and installation tough.  

And being a 10,000+ lbs piece of equipment, there was an obvious need for extensive safety precautions to protect both our personnel and the customer’s property. 

Finally, the new generator would not fit into the doors of the utility room with its factory skid attached.

WPP’s Response

To keep the condo’s residents protected during the project, WPP provided a portable rental generator to the buildings until decommissioning and installation were complete. 

We also arranged a 55-ton, 110-foot telescopic-boom crawler crane with unique rigging that would allow us some lateral movement into the utility room before unhooking it. 

To the selected generator–the 500kW HIPOWER HMW 510–we made several custom modifications to fit the application: 

  • As the generator was being placed in a dedicated room and did not require the added protection, we removed the factory sound attenuated enclosure. 
  • To make the system fit through the doors of the room, we also trimmed the skid the generator was initially mounted on. 
  • We also provided and installed a custom fuel tank to replace the old generator’s tank, and added a fuel fill line and drain line from the rooftop to the ground for easy access of filling trucks. 
  • For the generator exhaust, we designed custom ductwork to the room’s specifications. 
  • Finally, we installed an annunciator panel and communication line from the generator to the concierge desk that allows condo personnel to monitor the status of the generator remotely and get critical alerts for issues such as low fuel or low battery.
Lifting a generator by crane to the rooftop of ahigh rise condominium

Safe Tenants, Satisfied Inspectors, Happy Customers

Even if its tenants never have cause to benefit from the emergency power systems, the customer wanted its backup power generation to provide the same level of first-class service the rest of its property offers. And an old generator with out-of-production parts just couldn’t deliver…but WPP could.

With careful logistical planning and worksite safety precautions, we were able to place a 4.5-ton generator on a rooftop inside a utility room.

Now the condo’s stakeholders no longer have to worry about outdated equipment failing to meet life safety code requirements.

And in the event a repair is needed, the downtime will be much shorter and less expensive due to the parts being current and readily available. 

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