Greenheck Factory Tour

I was recently given the opportunity to travel to the Greenheck headquarters in Schofield, WI to tour their factory and learn more about their products.  Greenheck is a manufacturer of fans for building exhaust and make up air units.  They also produce energy recovery units, kitchen hoods, louvers, dampers, packaged rooftop units, gravity ventilators and much more.  Davin Hicks of Airetech (located in Springdale, AR) made the arrangements and accompanied me on the trip.

Our first stop after arriving in Wisconsin and settling in at the hotel was dinner at Sconni’s Alehouse and Eatery for some cheese curds and dinner.  The next morning we headed over to the Greenheck Education Center to review the products that they offer.  First up was make up air units (MAU) which are used to provide outside air to a building that has significant amounts of exhaust.  While a normal air conditioning unit is designed to handle about 10-15% ventilation air, these units are designed to condition 100% outside air and bring it to the desired temperature before blowing it into the building.  We even got to see a demonstration of their direct fired heaters which are compact heaters that have the gas flame directly in the air stream.  Of course, because the burner is in the air stream, this style of MAU can’t be used everywhere but it made an impressive sight.  In those cases, an indirect gas furnace can be used.

Greenheck MAU Direct Fired Furnace

We also reviewed Greenheck’s Accurex kitchen exhaust systems including their unit designed for commercial use of residential equipment.  This style of hood, if allowed by the local code authority, is a great solution for non-profits or small commercial applications that don’t have a need for a full-size commercial hood.  We also reviewed the various filters available for kitchen hoods and the advantages of variable speed fans for kitchen exhaust.

Accurex Residential Equipment Commercial Hood Accurex Kitchen Hood

After a quick stop to review their online equipment selection tool, louver products and dampers we ate lunch and then went to see the main event, Fan World.  At Fan World, we got to see all of Greenheck’s various fans and configurations from giant industrial fans to standard bathroom exhaust fans.  One of the most interesting displays was a box with a standard commercial glass door on one side.  The box could then be either positively or negatively pressurized to demonstrate the importance of air balance in a building.  When the box was over pressurized the door would open on its own.  When under negative pressure, you had to pull very hard to get the door open.  Not a good situation if your customers can’t get in the building!

Greenheck Industrial Fan Greenheck Bathroom Fans

In the afternoon, we were treated to some skeet shooting.  Davin and I tied in the first game and he let me win in the second, although he denies it.  With the help of the Greenheck hosts we were able to catch some pretty awesome slo-mo videos of us hitting the clay pigeons.  After shooting we had some pizza for dinner at Red Eye Brewing company.

Greenheck Skeet Shooting Greenheck Skeet Shooting

The next day we toured both the fan factory and the make up air unit factory.  As a big fan (pardon the pun) of TV shows like How It’s Made, this was a particularly enjoyable part of the trip.  Seeing the material worked and assembled into equipment is always an awesome experience.  Processes like metal spinning can seem like magic as the turn flat panels of aluminum in the necessary parts for a fan housing.  We also got to see some methods of quality control that Greenheck uses to make sure their fans operate as intended.  One of our last stops was at the Innovation Center to see where Greenheck does some of their prototyping and testing of their equipment.  They have test stands that can simulate years of wear on a fan blade.  Greenheck also has a gigantic sound chamber that they can use to rate their equipment’s sound levels.  Seeing some of the videos of their tests where they destroy the fans was pretty interesting!

After the factory tours we collected our bags and headed home.  Special thanks to Airetech for setting up this trip and to Greenheck for being excellent hosts.  At Forward Engineers we are committed to ensuring that our projects are designed with equipment that best fits the needs of our clients.  That is why we routinely work with vendors such as Airetech during the design process to make sure that the equipment we specify on our drawings is the right equipment for the job.  If you are seeking to work with an engineering firm that is client-centered and strives to provide services that are on time, on budget and exceed expectations, please contact us. We would love to work with you on your next project!


Great American Eclipse

Today our region of the county will experience a partial solar eclipse.  Not far to our north, they will experience a full solar eclipse.  You’ve probably seen or heard others discussing what is going on astronomically, but I want to address whether or not you’ll see any energy savings during the eclipse.  The short answer is “yes” with a slightly longer answer being “but not much.”

The biggest energy savings from the eclipse could come from a reduction in solar load on a building.  If it is a sunny day and your roof is suddenly in shade, your air conditioner will no longer have to work as hard to reject the heat that builds up from the sun’s rays hitting your building.  If your building is already shaded by trees, you won’t see much change.  Consider how hot an attic is during a sunny afternoon afternoon versus the early morning.  A lot of that heat is due to the sun hitting your roof rather than the outside temperature.

Ambient temperatures can also drop between 5 to 15 degrees during a solar eclipse which would reduce the amount of heat transferred between the outside and inside of your building.  Heat transfers more quickly when the difference in temperature between two surfaces is higher.  If the inside of your building is 75 °F and the outside is 100 °F, energy transfer into the house will be much higher than if the outside temperature is only 85 °F.

Unfortunately for your energy bill, the benefits of an hour or so of nighttime during the day will most likely be insignificant.  Either way, know that while you are outside viewing the eclipse, your building is enjoying a nice short break in the shade.


August 2017 Newsletter

Our big news this month is that we have moved.  Our office is now located in historic downtown Rogers in the Vinson Building at 1st and Elm.  The dust is still settling and parts of the office are still filled with cardboard boxes but through it all the work continues.  You can read our full announcement on our web page.  Please feel free to stop by and see us if you are in the area.

We announced last month our sponsorship of the 23rd Annual Green Valley Bible Camp Golf Tournament.  The tournament was held on August 5th and raised over $5000 for scholarships to the camp.  We were proud to be a repeat sponsor this year and to field a team for the first time.  You can see a few pictures of the event on our web page.  Thank you to all who participated in this great event.

Here’s a few other topics we were talking about this month:

  1. Why Hire an Engineer – Don’t hire an engineer just because it’s required by the city.  It can also save a project time and money.
  2. HVAC Load Calculations – How does an engineer predict HVAC equipment sizes? See what goes on behind the curtain
  3. Penguin MEP Design – Penguins have the coolest enclosures at the zoo. See what it takes to keep them cold.

Be sure to check our website regularly for updates or follow us on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter. We wish you the best this month and if you ever have need of any of our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Have a great day!

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