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Building Upgrades: Mechanical Master Plan

The Mitchell Partnership Inc.,(TMP) was hired to prepare a Mechanical Master Plan for 40 Sheppard. In their review of the existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC), they found:

Unitary Heat Pump System

  • Reject/absorb heat to a common pumped water circuit
  • Number of heat pumps has increased from 128 units October 1985 to approximately 164 today

Fresh Air Penthouse Unit

  • Moves a proportion of fresh air to each floor only as balanced, no
    automatic adjustability
  • Fresh air is heated by heat pump water circuit
  • Fresh air is partially cooled by a chiller added after the original design


  • Chiller is a small Trane screw chiller using R-22 (phase out refrigerant)
  • Rejects heat to building heat pump water circuit
  • Uses a refrigerant (Dx) coil in the fresh air unit (not chilled water)

Cooling Tower

  • Takes heat out of heat pump water circuit via a shell and tube
  • heat exchanger (old inefficient technology for this application)


  • Inject heat into the heat pump water circuit
  • Basic natural draft gas fired units (aged with efficiency likely below 80%)


  • The heat pump water circuit is the continuously operating thermal
    life fluid for the building HVAC systems
  • It is running way above original design temperature of 90°F in
    hot summer days now operating as high as 104°F
  • Heat pumps can stay on line easily at 95°F

In a presentation to Council in September 2010, TMP outlined why PEO should upgrade or renew the existing system. TMP indicated that the existing system is aged, noting that the record drawings are circa 1985 and a majority of equipment has endured its service life; the condition audit (Halsall) identifies over $900,000 in capital replacement before the end of 2015 and significant capital is required no matter what system is used. Phil Bastow, P.Eng., Vice President and Partner of The Mitchell Partnership indicated:

"PEO is an environmentally conscious and socially aware organization. This first phase of the Mechanical Systems Upgrade is a foundation that supports their vision and desire to operate a building taking into account the environment, tenant satisfaction and cost.”

The benefits of an upgraded or renewed system would be: higher levels of energy efficiency; improved indoor air quality and ventilation; improved comfort, improved information for building operation through control systems; longer life cycle and lower maintenance cost; more central equipment in readily accessible mechanical spaces away from tenants; lower churn costs for tenant change; existing heat pumps are among the highest costs for renew and relocate for tenant upgrades; and PEO would own a building with HVAC systems that have marketplace recognition for Class A office and future tenant acceptance.

The cost of these enhancements is considered common operating and maintenance costs and will be distributed over all occupants (tenants and PEO) of 40 Sheppard. In addition, an application under the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) rebate program was made to recover a portion of the cost.