Keeping Its Cool
Johnny Janosik World of Furniture, a 221,000-sq.-ft. furniture superstore and warehouse facility in Laurel, Md., is keeping energy costs in line due to an unconventional heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. while most retail stores of its size utilize packaged units on the roof, Johnny Janosik features a centralized system, or central plant.
The store’s heavy cooling requirements played a large part in the design of the HVAC system—its highly illuminated galleries generate an exceptional cooling load. The building contractor, The Whayland Co., Delmar, Del., researched HVAC solutions with regard to long-term operating efficiency. It ultimately selected M&M Refrigeration, a supplier of industrial refrigeration equipment and controls, as the HVAC systems contractor. M&M recommended the central-plant approach.
“Instead of multiple units on the roof, there is only the central one isolated in a machine room. The approach has a number of advantages, including that it is extremely efficient,” said Dave Odum, COO, M&M Refrigeration, Federalsburg, Md., which supplied the custom-built HVAC system.
Odum estimates that the centralized HVAC system saves the retailer $150,000 in utility costs. “And those savings are bound to go up given that the cost of energy keeps rising,” he added.
Going the central-plant route eliminated the roof penetrations that are necessary for packaged units.
“Without all those roof penetrations, you don’t have to worry as much about leaks,” Odum said. “Also, with the packaged units, each one has to be wired and such, and you also have to install drains. But with the central system, the wires and drains are only going to the one location, so it’s a more efficient installation.”
Isolated outside of the store, the system features 25 individual zone controllers. It is monitored by a system (also supplied by M&M) that operates off a PC in the building, with redundant monitoring and control by the supplier.
Ammonia: M&M specified a two-stage system where a very small ammonia charge cools a secondary fluid that is circulated to the cooling coils on the retail floor. Ammonia requires only 50% to 60% of the energy required by a conventional Freon-type technology.
“Ammonia is one of the most efficient and low-cost refrigerants, but there is a toxicity issue to it,” Odum said. “Because there are individual cooling units throughout the store, we isolated the ammonia in a remote machine room. It never comes in contact with the customers.”
Opened in late 2006, the 221,000-sq.-ft. Johnny Janosik World of Furniture, in Laurel, Del., is the flagship of family-owned Johnny Janosik Furniture.
Founded by Johnny Janosik, now 81 and retired, the Laurel, Del.-based company opened its first furniture showroom in 1978. Featuring an array of brands and mid-price points, the store took off, attracting shoppers from the nearby Maryland suburbs, as well as southern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Northern Virginia. Delaware has no sales tax, which helped fuel out-of-state business.
In addition to the flagship, Johnny Janosik operates two stores in Dover, Del., and a 22,000-sq.-ft. clearance center behind the megastore. The retailer draws from a wide radius (the company’s local delivery area includes the surrounding Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania communities). It is on track to do a reported $50 million plus in sales this year.
The secondary fluid used in the system is propylene glycol, a food-grade coolant that is 100% safe for human contact. The heat in the store is absorbed by the circulating glycol and removed from the store.
The building was built with a custom structural system from Butler Manufacturing Co., Kansas City, Mo., that uses its MR-24 standing-seam metal-roof system and Koratech panelized wall panels. The insulation value (R ratings) achieved in the roof assembly, combined with the high insulation value of the 6-in. wall panels, create an extremely well-insulated building envelope that complements the operating efficiency of the HVAC system.
The furniture store demonstrated its cool throughout this past summer. On one particularly hot day in August, temperatures in the parking lot reached 103 degrees. The temperature in the store held between 72 and 75 degrees, a differential of only three degrees over its 180,000-sq.-ft. (retail-sales-floor) footprint.
CompUSA may get a new look
ADDISON, Tx. After opening a new format store last month, CompUSA may be changing the format of its other stores, depending on customer demand and product interest.
According to reports, the elements found in the prototype store, located in Texas, will be incorporated into other CompUSA locations across the United States.
The nearly 7,700 square-ft. relocation site includes an Apple shop featuring Mac computers, iPods and Apple accessories, and a full-length LCD TV wall.
Additional expansions include extended gaming, which includes an entire wall devoted to the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 gaming platforms, plus a PC gaming setup to test equipment and play new titles.
While businesses can get their share of support with a specialized services section, all consumers can visit the store’s redesigned IT support area.
“This new store aligns CompUSA’s vision to better serve its three core customers, the technology enthusiast, educated professional and small and medium businesses,” said Gabriela Villalobos, the retailer’s sales and operations evp.
CompUSA announced in April that it would narrow its focus to three core customer groups rather than try to serve a mass audience.
The move was part of a comprehensive restructuring, initiated last February, that included an overhaul of senior management and the closure of half its store base as the privately held chain looked to improve sales and profitability.
Walgreens withdraws from CVS provider plans
DEERFIELD, Ill. After many months of talks over low and below-market payment rates by CVS Caremark for four prescription plans, Walgreens has withdrawn as a pharmacy provider from the plans.
Patients affected include members of prescription benefit plans managed by CVS Caremark for ArcelorMittal, Johnson Controls, Progressive Casualty Insurance and Wisconsin Education Association Trust.
Most of the affected members live in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, released the following statement:
“This is not where we wanted negotiations to lead,” he said. “We’re sorry that our pharmacy patients and CVS Caremark’s clients are caught in the middle, and we’ll do all we can to ensure a smooth transition for our patients to another pharmacy. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to work on resolving this issue with CVS Caremark.
“Leaving a benefits plan is an extraordinary step for us, but it demonstrates how extraordinarily low our payments were from CVS Caremark. We can’t continue accepting reimbursement rates that are drastically below market, while offering patients needed special services such as 24-hour pharmacy access and drive-thru pharmacies.”