E. M. Duggan
The original boilers at luxury condo building 100 Pier 4 in Boston needed to be replaced because of failing heat exchangers. The E.M. Duggan crew installed two Laars MagnaTherm boilers because of the company’s heat exchanger reputation.
The original boilers at luxury condo building 100 Pier 4 in Boston needed to be replaced because of failing heat exchangers. The E.M. Duggan crew installed two Laars MagnaTherm boilers because of the company’s heat exchanger reputation.
The original boilers at luxury condo building 100 Pier 4 in Boston needed to be replaced because of failing heat exchangers. The E.M. Duggan crew installed two Laars MagnaTherm boilers because of the company’s heat exchanger reputation.
The original boilers at luxury condo building 100 Pier 4 in Boston needed to be replaced because of failing heat exchangers. The E.M. Duggan crew installed two Laars MagnaTherm boilers because of the company’s heat exchanger reputation.
The original boilers at luxury condo building 100 Pier 4 in Boston needed to be replaced because of failing heat exchangers. The E.M. Duggan crew installed two Laars MagnaTherm boilers because of the company’s heat exchanger reputation.

When Heat Exchangers Fail

Nov. 22, 2023
E.M. Duggan and Duggan Mechanical Services used Laars Magnatherm boilers to repair a luxury condo building’s hydronic heating system.

BOSTON, MA —Boston’s 100 Pier 4 epitomizes luxury living, with lovely views of downtown Boston and resort-style amenities: a rooftop outdoor pool with a fire pit and dining area, a lounge with a full kitchen, a screening room, a conference room and intimate lounges. Its 369 luxury apartments are built on the edge of Boston Harbor in the Seaport District (also known as South Boston Waterfront). 

The 21-story structure with LEED Silver status was built in 2019 with resilient features—a crucial design point considering its proximity to the harbor. The first floor is elevated above the 100-year flood level, and critical mechanical and electrical systems are protected by locating them above the ground floor.

Built in 2019, the high-rise boasts more than 1 million square feet, including 10,000 square feet of retail space and 20,000 square feet for civic use and below-grade parking.

Retrofit for Energy Savings

In 2023, the building owner contracted with E.M. Duggan of Canton, MA, to retrofit its hydronic heating system to a more energy-efficient one, along with all piping and the Honeywell building management system. E.M. Duggan’s Bill Keogh, project manager, and John Lamb, account manager at Duggan Mechanical Services, worked with Economy Supply representative Joseph Poles to source the replacement boilers.

“We removed two Camus boilers because their heat exchangers had continued failures,” explains Lamb, a 40-year industry veteran. “We turned to Laars, whose boilers provide top-of-the-line heat exchangers.” 

Lamb merged his Boston-based, 20-year-old service business with Duggan Mechanical Services in 2016 and has worked developing service relationships and project work for the company since then. 

“I chose to work in this industry because it is always evolving and challenging every day,” he says. “It is a relationship-driven business between the customer and the contractor. I enjoy helping our incredible project and service team build these relationships and grow.” 

Keogh is a 16-year industry veteran who ran, repaired and replaced HVAC systems for Massachusetts General Hospitals. He started with E.M. Duggan in 2015 as a foreman/project manager on commercial projects. 

Partnering for Success

Bill Hoch, northeast regional sales manager for Laars Heating Systems, notes that E.M. Duggan and Economy Supply worked closely on the project’s design: “E.M. Duggan contacted Economy specifically for Laars product on this job. The service support from Economy and Laars was also a driving force behind the decision to work with the Laars product for this project.”

He adds that replacing a more energy-efficient hydronic system made sense since the existing system was a hydronic one. Hoch has helped design heating systems for 33 years; he started at Laars in 2001.

High Performance 

The Duggan crew consisted of four technicians throughout a two-week installation, including prep and prefabrication. They installed two new Laars MagnaTherm HTD water-tube boilers with 3,000 MBH, 96% efficient ASME-rated stainless-steel heat exchangers.

“The high turndown ratio of the boiler, 20:1; the TruTrac O2 sensing function that keeps the boiler at its best performance level; and the unit’s footprint were contributing factors to choosing the Laars MagnaTherm HTD,” Hoch explains.

The new boilers serve the condenser water loop for in-unit heat pumps to the 369 luxury apartment units. Other features include Modbus, BACNET, multiple pump control, outdoor reset, and high/low gas pressure switches. Lamb says that Duggan removed the old flue and installed a new flue using Centrotherm flue piping to meet code. 

“We used BIM piping prefabrication for inlet/outlet piping on both boilers due to the tight physical layout,” he explains. “We also used our prefab shop to avoid costly fire details and lower onsite work hours. Rigging units down the hallway was challenging, so we used a 250T Liebherr crane to rig boilers onto the roof.”

Duggan Mechanical Services completed the job on Nov. 3, 2023.

Kelly Faloon is a contributing writer to CONTRACTOR magazine and the principal of Faloon Editorial Services. The former editor of Plumbing & Mechanical magazine, she has nearly 35 years of experience in B2B publishing, with 25 of those years writing about the plumbing, heating, cooling and piping industry. Faloon is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University. You can reach her at [email protected].

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