Restoration of the Duke University Chapel’s HVAC System


Since the early 1930’s, the Duke University
Chapel has stood on the highest ridge of Duke’s west campus. This iconic building has rich
history and is known for it’s architectural grandeur. Over the past eight decades, Duke
University Chapel has celebrated thousands of services, welcomed millions of guests,
and served as the preeminent icon for the university In May of 2015, Duke University kicked off
a year-long restoration project to rehabilitate the interior and exterior of the Chapel. Pur
Vent, an full-service HVAC cleaning and sealing company, was tasked with restoring the entire
HVAC system, including 100 ft. of underground ductwork. To tackle this project, Pur Vent
chose Carlisle HVAC product RE-500, a high performance, spray-applied, insulation encapsulant
and coating for use inside the HVAC ductwork. My name is Henry Baker, I’m with Pur Vent
in Cary, North Carolina, we do HVAC Restoration. We do both air side and water side. We clean
ductwork, air handler units, cooling towers, condensing units, and boilers. If it has to do with the
HVAC system, we can clean it. Currently, we are at Duke University Chapel, cleaning
the existing ductwork. The scope of the project, for as far as the heating and air conditioning
was concerned, was they were replacing the existing air handling units. Our scope of
work was to clean all the ductwork and grilles that remained. They expanded that to include
about 100 feet of underground fresh air duct that had originally been taken out of service.
They decided they were going to put it back in service and they wanted to coat it. We
proposed the RE-500 system from Carlisle Hardcast. We had to go in and clean the ductwork first with
vacuums and then now we’re gonna go in again with air whips and a negative pressure on the opposite
side of the duct and then blow it out with whips and air washing. Then we’re gonna
go back in with RE-500 and hand-spray it with an airless sprayer. Some of the grilles were brass and there was
a possibility of scratching those, we had to use special tape onto the air distribution
because anything worse or any kind of duct mask would have peeled away portions of the
limestone and discolored the limestone, so you would have seen a noticeable stripe where
you had put it. Also, the air distribution was literally on top of the woodwork and the
entire back of the seats were the air plenum so we had to go down the back of that and
clean that out and that was, getting zoning and getting enough suction on that was a nightmare. Architects and engineers are starting to realize
that you can’t just replace an air handling unit and just leave the ductwork and the air
distribution at 30 years old and with dirt caked on that was that thick. It just doesn’t
work and especially if you put new ducts down stream from it. I’ve seen the dirt from
the old ductwork blow into that and then they had to clean the whole thing. My crews really like the RE-500 because it
goes in the other sprayer well, it doesn’t clog it up, it goes on and creates a nice
even coat. It was low VOC, it was used inside of an HVAC
system whereas some of the other products that were being kicked around were not. Works
better, costs less, how can you beat that?

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