Patented Drilling Technology Guarantees No Disruption for High-rise Buildings

Recently, Fēnix Energy reviewed the business case for a retrofit Geo-Exchange and how different financial and non-financial factors affect a company’s decision to install this type of heating and cooling system. One part of that business case is to consider how the actual retrofit work impacts the operation of the building and in the case of a commercial property, the building’s tenants.

As the first Geo-Exchange retrofit of its kind in the world, the project at the Pacific Centre in Downtown Vancouver (777 Dunsmuir) was a learning experience for Fēnix, not so much with the installation itself but with how to work around the particular needs of the client, in this case the owner of the Pacific Centre, Cadillac Fairview.

The Geo-Exchange systems we were putting in aren’t new, what was new was our installation equipment and how we did the installation,” says Hart Starr Crawford, P.Eng., LEED® AP BD+C, Project Manager at Fēnix Energy. “With this being the first retrofit of its kind, learning how to drill and not disrupt the tenants from a business perspective was new for us.

The challenge was drilling 34 bore holes – each almost 400 feet deep – in the lowest level of the parkade with minimal impact to the daily routine of Pacific Centre. Cadillac Fairview’s primary concern during drilling and installation was to maintain customer experience – including accessibility – and limit the effect of a large-scale project on commercial tenants.

Traditional drilling can be, and typically is, a very messy process,” says Hart“Our equipment is specifically designed for cleanliness. A lot of time and care went into keeping our noise down and ensuring the work areas were kept as clean as possible.

The noise from the specialized drilling equipment was so quiet Hart described it as a “soft hum”. This supported Cadillac Fairview‘s goal of minimal disruption. Drilling operations and debris removal (rocks and mud) from drill holes were also scheduled at night, which ensured low impact to operations and building occupants.

Article by Vince Shuley

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