Customer Perspective: Rayburn House Office Building Emergency Power Upgrade

Cynergy Electric Company, Inc., Al Swann, Project Manager

Curtis Power Solutions listens to its customers and knows that everyone can benefit from shared experiences. In this new feature, customers tell stories from their perspective about challenges and solutions.

The Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC was built in 1965, so its mechanical infrastructure has been upgraded over the ensuing years. The Architect of the Capitol, which oversees improvements to federal government properties, contracted to upgrade the structure’s main life safety backup power system. Cynergy Electric Company, Inc., was selected by the general contractor to provide and install all of the emergency backup system equipment. Curtis Power Solutions was chosen to specify, provide and test the equipment, ensuring experienced technical advice and dependable, world-class equipment.

Working Together, Hand-in-Hand

Cynergy and Curtis are an experienced team, having worked together on numerous projects for more than two decades. According to Al Swann, Cynergy’s project manager for the Rayburn House Office Building project, “This is sophisticated technology and equipment, which includes generators, switchgear, automatic transfer switches and networking capability for security purposes. We worked with Curtis hand-in-hand throughout the project, beginning at the bid phase where Curtis specified and priced the needed equipment. If someone could see a system of this magnitude and operation, they would be impressed.”

Al reports that the generator equipment was provided by MTU (A Rolls-Royce Solution) and the parallel switchgear and automatic transfer switches were provided by ASCO.

Project Challenges and Solutions

“We worked together with Curtis to schedule equipment pickup and hauling from the MTU manufacturing site in Minnesota to the site in Washington, DC,” said Al. “There was a tremendous amount of coordination between us to test the equipment around strict time schedules and cyber security requirements, because it had to be business as usual in the building,” added Al.

Another big challenge on this project – literally – was getting two 35,000-pound generators into the building and connected. Before the generators were lifted into the building by rigging crane, radiators were installed; however, the assemblies would not fit into the new space and the clock was ticking. After draining and disassembling the radiators from the engines, they were rigged into the building separately and re-assembled with the generators inside the building. The outcome was an effective team solution for a 35-ton challenge.

 The Power of Partnership

The project has recently been completed, and Al reflected on another successful team effort: “The relationship between Cynergy Electric and Curtis is such that, no matter if it is a spec job or a design-build job, we are always able to work together to resolve any and all challenges… No matter what comes up, we feel that Cynergy and Curtis can do anything together.”

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