Iowa Student Loan

Project Information

  • Owner

    Iowa Student Loan

  • Location

    West Des Moines, IA

  • Engineer

    Baker Group

  • Square Footage


  • Baker Group Scope


  • Year Completed


After 25 years of use, Iowa Student Loan’s HVAC system was reaching the end of its useful life. Because of the long partnership between Baker Group’s Preventive Maintenance Program and Iowa Student Loan, we were able to forecast increased repair costs to the mechanical and control system before these failures happened. This allowed the owner to plan equipment upgrades without incurring expensive repair costs and increased down time. Baker Group sat down with building management, listened to their concerns, discussed goals and then provided a comprehensive budget for a system upgrade.  

Single-Source Solution

“Iowa Student Loan has maintained a preventive maintenance agreement with us for years, which gave us a good grasp of the important issues,” says Eric Johnson, Baker Group project manager. “And because we are able to keep everything in-house – design, energy management, sheet metal, building automation and power distribution, for example – we could present one organized solution to our customer.”

First, Baker Group’s engineering team, which included a Certified Energy Manager, went through the building to thoroughly assess needs in individual heating/cooling zones. “This information allowed us to design a system that will provide comfort while also meeting the owner’s other goals,” Johnson says.

These goals included:

Goal: Reduce energy consumption.
Solution:  One of the first steps of energy conservation is to establish a baseline for energy consumption. Baker Group’s own Certified Energy Manager, Eric Olinger, conducted an energy study of the existing systems. This allowed the design team to make good recommendations for reduced energy consumption.

Baker Group is replacing the 25-year-old systems with high-efficiency units. This includes four rooftop units (RTUs) and variable air volume (VAV) boxes. “We are also installing direct digital controls (DDC) with an extremely user-friendly interface, which allows the owner to control the system remotely and gain efficiencies. That was not possible with the old pneumatic system,” Johnson says.  

Goal: Achieve the most economical solution possible.
Solution: Baker Group fast-tracked the rebate application, enabling Iowa Student Loan to attain significant financial assistance while still maintaining their goal of upgrading the system before peak season cooling use. In addition, replacing the old system with a similar new system kept installation costs low.

Goal: Avoid disrupting employee work while replacing above-ceiling systems.
Solution: Baker Group has large multi-trade crews working at night, when employees are not in the building.

Goal: Reduce the risk of additional equipment failures and repairs.
Solution: Baker Group’s crews are working fast. “Initially, this project was expected to extend until September, but we expect to wrap up mid- to late-May. Meeting a compressed timeline dramatically reduces the risk of cooling system failures and costly repairs of the old system before cooling season arrives,” Johnson says.

Baker Group will continue to provide ongoing preventive maintenance to Iowa Student Loan. “This is important to maintain the integrity of the equipment, improve its longevity and provide consistent comfort for employees,” Johnson adds.

Back To Remodel/Retrofit Projects