With more than 53 years in northeast Ohio, Gardiner continues to be the smart solution for building owners and operators looking to cut energy costs and maximize performance through intelligent HVAC system design, including integrated automation and controls. Based in Solon, Ohio, Gardiner is a full-service HVAC, energy and professional services company serving Ohio’s commercial, industrial and institutional facilities, engineers and mechanical contractors.
Not only is Gardiner a provider of HVAC systems, mechanical equipment, building automation and controls systems, boilers and related parts, the company is also a source for leading knowledge and HVAC industry training. Gardiner’s now 200-plus team is dedicated to solving facility challenges in the K-12, higher education, government, health care, industrial and commercial sectors through innovative, energy-savings solutions.
Rising to meet demand
The company was established by Bill Gardiner in 1962, originally as a Trane HVAC systems supplier. As Gardiner’s market grew, additional services and solutions were added to address growing demand. The company has grown from its small office in Cleveland with just four sales people and one serviceman to more than 200 associates across northeast Ohio. “We have grown by creating relationships with clients and by understanding how to best meet their needs,” says Bob Case, president and CEO of Gardiner.
“What company isn’t looking for a way to address energy consumption and cut costs off its bottom line,” says Case. Gardiner has positioned itself to meet this market demand.
“It’s exciting,” adds Case. “We’ve been able to do something good for the environment that helps local business be more competitive and allows us to grow in times when a lot of people are not having the success that we are.” According to Case, clients continuously report significant savings in their overall energy bill after Gardiner provides a new system or services an existing system. These savings can range from 20 to 50 percent of their energy costs.
Case, who started working for Gardiner in 1973 after completing the Trane HVAC certification process, was one of 13 employees at the time. After 42 years with the firm, he says its leading expertise that set Gardiner apart not only as a service provider, but also as an information source.
“Many of our staff have worked for Gardiner between 20 and 30 years,” he says. Gardiner’s team of associates, including professional engineers, certified energy manages, LEED accredited professionals and green associates, project managers and factory-authorized service technicians, holds more than 2,500 years of combined industry experience.
“Our philosophy has always been to encourage teamwork, hire the best people and provide them with what they need, then move out of the way and let them thrive,” adds Bill Gardiner, owner and founder of Gardiner.
“We’re uniquely qualified to partner with building owners/operators to minimize the effects of energy costs,” continues Case. “We have partners that buy energy in bulk so we can get our customers a contract conducive to their specific usage. Most utility companies like to manually assign end users to a profile that’s advantageous to the utility versus what’s best for our client so we work with utilities directly or through consultants to negotiate better contracts.”
“This combined with our help in installing energy efficient systems, automations and controls and help running the system to maximize effectiveness makes Gardiner the go-to partner for clients looking to minimize cost and maximize the comfort of their building,” adds Case.
Health care case studies
One of the largest markets where Gardiner is helping customers realize serious savings is in hospitals and health care facilities. HVAC systems help sustain healthy, safe and comfortable environments for patients, staff and visitors and Gardiner’s Energy Services team provides solutions to enhance indoor environments, improve patient outcomes and staff satisfaction, as well as hit operational performance goals through improved indoor air quality, humidity and moisture control, acoustics and energy efficiency.
“We worked with a health system that owns a number of hospitals throughout the area,” says Case. “Our team started at one of its larger hospitals where we installed electric meters and variable speed pumps on chillers, ramping up and down to meet the load capacity. We also installed variable speed cooling tower fans and began to run tests through our intelligent services. Part of the system didn’t respond the way we thought it would, but we were able to identify these problems through testing and by the second year we delivered even more energy savings.”
The Dynamic Chiller Optimization (DCO) saved the hospital so much that the project paid for itself within a year. “Because of this success Gardiner was hired at the main campus to do more fine tuning, taking the lessons we learned at the smaller operation,” says Case.
Gardiner’s team was tasked to tackle HVAC systems at the TriPoint Medical Center, a full-service acute care facility. As a strategic partner, Gardiner worked with design teams to ensure HVAC system met the master plan. An EarthWise design solution using Trane Controled Chiller Plant achieved the benefits of low-flow, low-temperature chilled water plant design. Custom Trane air handling units were designed specifically to meet the stringent “environment of care” standards while providing targeted energy efficiency and reliability.
Gardiner utilized DCO to enhance chiller performance. “Choosing to integrate the chilled water plant with the hospital’s building management system was a cost effective solution which helped the project meet the aggressive timetable and budget constraints,” says Case.
The company also worked with the facility to generate a long-term contingency action plan for emergency preparedness to minimize the amount of outage time during an emergency situation. Overall, Gardiner’s design reduced operating costs by 20 to 30 percent. “The custom air handling units and integrated controls solutions deliver the desire temperature and humidity to both critical and noncritical spaces,” adds Case. “The sustainable design also created additional usable floor space, which is key to supporting a rapidly changing model of care.”
Repurposing for savings and greater resources
Gardiner is also running strong in the education market, delivering savings for K-12 and higher education facilities. In Lake County, the Willoughby-Eastlake School District faced aging building infrastructure in need of major improvements.
“We worked directly with the district and administered an investment grade audit for 10 of the 11 school facility buildings,” says Case. The upgrades included lighting and a boiler replacement.
“With all of the savings in energy and operating costs, the district decided to use the money it was saving to completely renovate the Kennedy Building, built in the 1960s,” says Case. The once-vacant space became home to Kennedy Early Learning Center, an autism center for area students.
As part of the renovation, HVAC equipment, windows, doors, roofing and lighting were all replaced. The HVAC units were integrated into the controls system. A new gas service was installed along with a security system, ceilings, flooring, walls, fire protection, locker rooms, cabinetry and other general construction trades. All of the construction and renovation work was completed without disturbing the preschool and within the facility’s schedule.
Gardiner’s upgrades and savings allowed the district to leverage House Bill 264 to secure low interest funds for the Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) throughout the buildings. “The renovation has saved the district more than $662,000 in energy savings and by being able to provide the community with the Kennedy Academy for Autism, the district no longer has to send students outside the district for these resources, which in turn saves money and creates more jobs.”
An educational resource
Gardiner continues to help customers across diverse markets cut energy costs and free up resources. “Recently we have hosted a series of seminars on demand-shedding programs,” says Case. “With such a high demand on the grid, and it peeking through the summer, capacity is something that our customers need to address.”
“Our section of the Power Grid has set a capacity charge, plus a charge that is bid every year that will come into effect in three years,” explains Case. “We’re trying to put the word out through these seminars to help companies prepare and avoid paying high-capacity charges. We will host another session at our facility at the end of summer 2015, where we bring in partners and discuss how we can help customers maximize comfort while minimizing demand.”
Case says Gardiner is not a one-and-done project type of business; this is why the company looks to be more than a service provider, but a resource as well. “We have a vested interest in keeping business booming in northeast Ohio and beyond and it’s our goal to help our customers reduce costs so their doors stay open,” he says.
Today, Gardiner is much more than HVAC equipment sales, but rather a leader in full-service energy solutions that ultimately lead to major savings.
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