Education/Gym-Fieldhouse - SkeleCore FTS - Lipscomb University


HVAC Mechanical Contractor’s Design Cuts College’s

Air-Conditioning Retrofit Costs


Specifying textile duct versus metal duct combined with gas-fired package rooftop heating to replace aging steam system saves college tens of thousands of dollars.  

Nashville, Tennessee---Lipscomb University asked mechanical engineers and contractors to think outside the box in an effort to cut costs for an air-conditioning retrofit at two campus buildings.

Nashville, Tenn.-based Kimbro Mechanical and Olert Engineering collaborated on a textile ductwork, a package rooftop HVAC system and an overall HVAC design. Consequently, the design saved the 120-year-old private Christian college tens of thousands of dollars by reducing installation labor, circumventing existing heating system repairs and eliminating the need for structural roof reinforcement costs to support an air distribution system.

The two-month project focused on air-conditioning design, equipment selection and installation for the 40-year-old, 35,000-square-foot McQuiddy Gym and the adjacent 20-year-old, 37,000-square foot Student Activity Center (SAC), a combination of academic sports areas and a gym for intramural sports activities.

Project costs might have surpassed $500,000 with a conventional design, however Mike Graves, COO/partner, Kimbro Mechanical, and John Olert, P.E., Olert Engineering, pared the costs down to just over $400,000 with innovative thinking. For example, specifying Sedona Xm textile duct by DuctSox Corp., Peosta, Iowa, versus metal duct reduced the installation labor costs for the 532 linear feet of air distribution by more than 25-percent, according to Graves. Kimbro used a two-man crew and one lift for McQuiddy’s two 150-foot-long runs of 36-inch-diamter duct and SAC’s two 116-foot-long runs of 38-inch-diameter ductwork. The significantly heavier weight of metal duct would have required a four-man crew and two lifts, according to Graves. 

Graves’ crew pulled the fabric tight by wrenching a 3/4-inch-diameter, lightweight aluminum backbone tube that in turn contracts the space between the systems cylindrical tensioning rings by up to five inches. The crew hung the duct runs with direct hang cable drops hooking directly to the CTRs and IRs, versus the more conventional method of attaching to external clips sewn into the fabric.


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