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Climate control!

posted by Bert Reptile on Fri, Aug 21, 2009
in Backstage buzz

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From Christopher Dawe, Berkeley Rep’s facilities manager:

The air conditioning and heating system in the Thrust Stage hasn’t been updated since it was built in 1980. We were running out of chewing gum and baling wire to solve our somewhat recurring problems.  Audience members may remember occasionally experiencing heat waves and cold drafts in the Thrust – sometimes in the same act. HVAC (Heating, Venting & Air Conditioning) has come a long way since 1980, and it was time to replace our old system with something modern and more efficient. We are always aiming to make our theatre as comfortable as possible for our patrons and staff. 

HVAC (old) After working with our HVAC technician, who dreamed up an idea to use our very efficient chiller and boiler system as a central plant to cool and heat both the Thrust and the Roda, sometimes simultaneously, we came up with a game plan. We worked with our mechanical engineers to make sure we were building it correctly and that our new system would perform as expected.

Finally, we are getting to the point of fruition, and a few weeks ago we removed our old system from the roof of the Thrust (seen in photo above). The new system is being built in the old unit’s place, and all is looking good. Some changes have already occurred, like the new directional louvers we installed in the house of the Thrust late last season. This eliminated the cold down drafts that our patrons sometimes felt. With all these changes, we are expecting a decrease in energy usage of around 40% for the Thrust!

On schedule and on budget, we are aiming to have the new HVAC up and running well before Tiny Kushner gets to the Thrust in mid-October.

Photo by Christopher Dawe

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