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Sharing the wonders of the universe is a big job, and the most-visited public observatory in the world has been doing it since 1935. When it was time for Griffith Observatory to renovate their air conditioning, they needed a system 1.6 million visitors a year could rely on. As a leader in public science education owned and operated by the City of Los Angeles, sustainability was also a key concern. Adding the requirements of a historic building and a tight timeframe of two weeks, there was a lot to plan for.
ABM technicians prioritized communication and collaboration first, to make sure Observatory leaders could be confident that no need would go overlooked and the project would be complete on time. Shifting away from water-cooled chillers, which use large volumes of water, was going to take a lot of heavy lifting. Each water-cooled chiller weighed approximately 40,000 pounds. A 450-ton crane had to be carefully brought onto the Observatory grounds to hoist them out and replace them with water-saving air-cooled chillers. Pumps and piping throughout the facility also had to be modified. HVAC controls were upgraded to maximize efficient operation and energy savings. And when the scheduled two-week closure was over, the team’s plan had delivered on the promise.