Installation Summary

After a lengthy and thorough RFP and contract negotiation period, Brecke Services was selected to perform the project upgrades. This diligence paid off as the BOA realized significant savings on the contract cost (cut by almost half the original estimates), and maximized rebates both from the Federal government, and the local utility.

The Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) was the first portion of the project to be installed.  Brecke Services made quick work of the installation. The supplies for the building arrived in September 2016, leaving just shy of 4 months to replace most of the mechanical system in the building. The project needed to be operational by December 31st, 2016.

The BOA and contractor were fortunate to have Ron Lower, an experienced retired executive as the BOA’s President and acting construction manager on site. By November 10th, most of the building’s 86 GHPs were on-line and leak checked.  The project was completed and closed out in time.

 Project Overview

The Bottleworks Building was built in 1946, and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It was originally used as the Weaver Witwer Grocery warehouse and Life Beverage Bottleworks.  On the ground floor, the big warehouse windows gave a fantastic view to the soda pop/soft drink operations on the street level of the warehouse.

In 1996, the building was converted to 67 low income apartments. A distributed geothermal heat pump system was designed and specified. In early 2008, the building was targeted for an upgrade to high end mixed use applications including a central atrium and 58 condominiums known currently as the Bottleworks Loft Condominiums.  During this construction, the 2008 Cedar Rapids flood wreaked havoc on the city, flooding more than 10 square miles of the city and displacing 18,000 residents. This event was the 6th costliest in FEMA history.

Due in part to circumstances resulting from the flood, mechanical upgrades were considered in 2015, and performed in 2016. The building had been designed with about 228 tons of heat pump capacity from 94 geothermal heat pumps (GHPs).  The building is equipped with a vertical closed loop geothermal source (Loop-Field) located in the grass lot south of the building, consisting of 150 boreholes, each of them 215’ deep.

Project Goals

  • Low equipment replacement cost
  • Longevity of HVAC system
  • Energy savings and environmental comfort
  • Elimination of combustion heating


Recommendations for current needs at that time included:

  • New Dedicated Outdoor Air System with Exhaust Recovery Ventilation.
  • New Aquatherm Piping to replace the failing steel pipe system
  • New Geothermal Heat Pumps for the common areas
  • New Geothermal Circulators with Variable frequency Drive
  • New Control System to Modulate the Pumps

Project Benefits

The most impressive point may be that in spite of such a major disaster, the geothermal loop system retained its integrity. While many upgrades were performed, especially to the piping and equipment, it has been noted that the geothermal exchanger, perhaps the most expensive part of the system (the vertical ground loop) remains intact, and will likely be in service for generations to come. Among the benefits retained/gained by Bottleworks are:

  1. No outdoor equipment (i.e. cooling tower or condensors)
  2. Hurricane proof (HVAC equipment wise)
  3. Continued HVAC system longevity
  4. Elimination of their oil furnace/boiler
  5. Noticeably superior comfort and heating and cooling modes
  6. Remarkable system efficiency (20 to 30 EER)

Project Team

  • Project Name:

Bottleworks Loft Condominiums Geothermal Upgrades

  • Equipment Installed:

Aquatherm poly-propylene pipe (PP-R),

Bosch BP Series Geothermal Heat Pumps

Taco Pumps and iWorX Controls

Greenheck ERCH Dedicated Outdoor Air System

  • Geothermal HVAC consultant:

EggGeothermal Consulting, Kissimmee, FL

  • Mechanical Contractor:

Brecke Mechanical, Cedar Rapids, IA

  • Completion date:

January, 2017