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Article | November 8, 2023

Environmental Advances Planned to be Installed in the Skyway Sister Buildings

To help combat climate change due to global warming, the building industry and public utilities are moving toward decarbonizing the systems serving buildings.

One aspect of that is using all-electric plants to provide heating and cooling. Western Allied Mechanical (WAM) is at the forefront of this exciting initiative. Most recently, WAM is partnering with Phase 3 Real Estate Partners (P3RE) on two all-electric life sciences buildings. Buildings number 959 and 999 Skyway Road are sister buildings in San Carlos adjacent to the airport. This project kicked off at the beginning of 2023 and is already significantly underway with plans for the buildings to be commissioned in 2025.

P3RE is a developer specializing in retrofitting office buildings into office and lab facilities. P3RE is committed to modern designs and environmental sustainability, including decarbonizing their project buildings. WAM and P3RE have completed a few large projects together including 1900 Alameda de Las Pulgas in San Mateo and most recently Genesis Station in Daly City. The current Skyway projects represent the first buildings where the team is delivering a lab and office building with no natural gas heating.

The system that WAM is providing for these buildings centers around the use of modular air-source heat pumps that can provide either chilled water or hot water. The system WAM designed arranges a series of heat pump modules around chilled water or hot water heating hydronic loops. The building control system then opens and closes valves to connect heat pump modules to either loop source, depending on the cooling or heating demand at the time. The system will automatically shift heat pump capacity between Cooling and Heating throughout the year to maintain occupant comfort and minimize energy consumption.

In addition to the system being all-electric and avoiding connected natural gas upgrades, first-cost savings are realized by using the same equipment for cooling and heating. There is no dedicated heating plant that is left unused in the summer, nor a cooling plant unused in the winter. The plant uses the same equipment for all conditioning modes so there is no increased connected electrical load above a typical cooling plant.

We are excited to see these innovative new systems design up and running and learn how we might improve upon them over time so we can help more developers decarbonize their building portfolios.


By Todd Gottshall, Director of Engineering

About Western Allied Mechanical

Western Allied Mechanical stands on the cutting edge of HVAC system design and operation. We combine innovative thinking and technologies with intricate engineering to create, build and maintain comfortable, energy-efficient environments.

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