Cannistraro and DCAM Partner to Satisfy State-Mandated Energy Conservation Measures

By | 07/01/2013

The Hogan–Wrentham Project

When John Cannistraro, Sr. founded J.C. Cannistraro, LLC (Cannistraro) in 1963, he was a Navy veteran with $1,500 in his pocket, the support of his wife, Rita, and a lifelong dream of entrepreneurship. Little did Cannistraro, Sr. know that nearly 50 years later, his one-man plumbing shop would grow into the company it is today, with more than 400 employees and $140 million per year in revenue. Cannistraro, based in Watertown, MA, is now in its second generation of family ownership. This GreenSTAR company is operated by four of Cannistraro’s eight children and is constantly evolving alongside changes in the industry. The energy savings resulting from the company’s partnership with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) serve as a model of Cannistraro’s commitment to change and success in the energy conservation arena.

In the spring of 2012, site work outlined in the contract between Cannistraro and DCAM commenced. Referred to as the Hogan–Wrentham project, this project is really two separate projects in two distinct locations. One of the buildings, the Hogan Regional Center, is located in Danvers, MA, while the other building, the Wrentham Developmental Center, is approximately an hour’s drive away in Wrentham, MA. The Hogan–Wrentham contract fulfilled the ongoing goals and efforts of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. It featured a rigorous set of energy conservation measures (ECMs) to move the infrastructure of two state-run facilities into the 21st century, while improving the efficiency of both campuses.  

The project scope was $25–30 million in work and included complete HVAC retrofits of the Hogan Regional Center, as well as the power plant and surrounding campus at the Wrentham Developmental Center. Cannistraro served as the prime contractor, coordinating a team of 35–40 people from various subcontractors, including D.C. Beane Construction (construction), Broadway Electrical (electrical), Siemens (control systems) and Energy Engineering & Design (commissioning). While it will take a few years for exact payback figures to unfold, DCAM estimates that, as a result of these ECMs, annual energy savings will reach between $2–3 million.

The bulk of the work performed was intended to upgrade the HVAC infrastructure. First, the piping and existing inefficient, asbestos-ridden boilers were abated and removed. Then, Cannistraro’s project team began prefabricating the HVAC piping, preplanning for the delivery and installation of cogeneration equipment and, finally, fitting each establishment with high-efficiency boilers. The Wrentham facility turned out to be a huge challenge. “Managing the sheer size and weight of rigging the boilers at Wrentham was a feat in itself,” says Tom Palange, Cannistraro’s Director of Marketing.  Not only did the Cannistraro team have to create custom ramps to bring the boilers into the building, they had to install the boilers by crane and carefully maneuver them to their permanent location via hydraulic lift.

In addition to the upgrades made to both facilities’ boiler systems, the project team completed numerous other engineering responsibilities: the installation of energy-saving pool covers; the installation of storm windows and comprehensive weather stripping; energy management and controls upgrades; and electrical upgrades, including the Hogan–Wrentham project’s signature ECM — the installation of a state-of-the-art photovoltaic solar field. These developments were supplemented by the team’s ability to build a custom sound-reducing enclosure for the cogeneration unit, and most importantly, a seamless construction process that had zero impact on those living or working on the active campus.  

What started as a typical service agreement transcended into a larger, design-build project. “Your service department is a natural entryway into the energy savings sector,” says Palange. As it turns out, the opposite is also true. The success of the Hogan–Wrentham project has led to a continued service relationship between DCAM and Cannistraro. Cannistraro is now contracted for extended service and maintenance work at the Hogan and Wrentham buildings and will be on-site for the next three years. In addition, Palange says that one victory can serve as a catalyst for many more: “Our success with these energy projects and our positive relationship with the state have opened up doors to new kinds of projects and more opportunities for design-build projects. These projects also allow us to expand our energy portfolio.”

Cannistraro was named "Contractor of the Year" in 2011 by PHC News magazine and was up for nomination for the International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA Boston’s) “Award of Excellence – Large Projects” for its work with the Hogan Regional Center and Wrentham Developmental Center. Cannistraro’s ability to evolve and adapt to the needs of the 21st century has led the company to embrace the energy-efficiency movement, seize new opportunities for growth and reap both the rewards and the awards.