High-Performance HVAC Gets to Work for Utility Office

Case Study

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Utility Office Upgrades from Piecemeal HVAC to State-of-the-Art System

Flathead Electric’s district office is a single-story 1960s-vintage building with offices at the front and a combination of storage space and garage bays for utility trucks in the back. Their former HVAC system had been pieced together from several years of changes and modifications and it was no longer providing indoor comfort or an adequate level of heating efficiency. Flathead Electric took advantage of an innovative approach to HVAC they knew all to well—a very high efficiency dedicated outside air system (also referred to as very high efficiency DOAS).

“We knew it was time to upgrade our HVAC,” said Don Newton, Energy Services Supervisor at Flathead Electric. “This was the ideal time to take the very high efficiency DOAS approach to increase our comfort and greatly reduce our energy use. It was a very easy decision to make.”

Innovative HVAC Approach Saves Energy, Increases Comfort and Reduces Air Leakage

Updated piece-by-piece over many years, the existing HVAC system was inefficient, uncomfortable and featured a significant amount of air leakage. By installing a very high efficiency DOAS system, the facility team was able to improve all of these aspects of the building’s HVAC system in one fell swoop.

DOAS separates heating and cooling from the ventilation system to allow for optimal control of each of these critical building functions. Building on the DOAS concept, a very high efficiency DOAS includes heat recovery ventilation and focuses on increased equipment efficiency and optimized system design. This approach has been proven to yield significant energy savings in new and existing commercial buildings while also providing:

  • Increased occupant comfort
  • Improved indoor air quality due to filtered 100% outside air being brought into the space
  • Lower energy bills because the very high efficiency HRV allows for a smaller heating and cooling system that runs less often
  • Saved roof space through system downsizing and reduced ductwork
  • Precise temperature and humidity control


The facility team was happy to see their upgraded HVAC system bring the expected increase in comfort and decrease in energy use. The vastly improved energy performance managed to outpace expectations, with the facility team looking forward to citing it as another successful example of the many benefits of the very high efficiency DOAS approach to HVAC.

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