When it came time to update Dreamstyle Stadium’s water-heating system, the University of New Mexico evaluated a straight, in-kind replacement with standard-efficiency water heaters. But installing a new set of bulky storage tanks simply didn’t make sense in the modern era, according to a Plumbing Perspective interview with Jesse Hart, facilities engineer for UNM’s facilities management department.

“Installing a similar storage tank would’ve required removing part of the roof,” Hart said. “We also looked at tankless style system options. Energy savings was a big consideration, as was redundancy and serviceability.”

A person working on a control panel.

Richard Van Damme, HVAC master for the University of New Mexico, examines one of Dreamstyle Stadium’s tankless water heaters.

The stadium had short periods of high demand for hot water but rarely needed hot water at other times, so standby losses with the storage tank system were significant. So the stadium turned to a system that would eliminate standby losses while still being able to ramp up to meet high demand: 18 Navien NPE-240S condensing, tankless water heaters linked together with Navien’s Ready-Link manifold system.

“The modulating component was a feature we really wanted,” Hart said. “Each of these units provides a 10-to-1 turndown, so no matter if there’s one sink or 20 showers running, we can accurately match the load. We’re not using energy beyond what’s needed to meet the actual demand.”

Tankless water heating is gaining rapid popularity in commercial applications similar to Dreamstyle Stadium due to its space- and energy-saving capabilities. Check out The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Tankless Water Heating for more case studies, data, and training on these systems.

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