Alachua County Humane Society

The Challenge

Alachua County Humane Society (ACHS) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to helping pets in Alachua County for more than 40 years. It serves as home to as many as 1,400 animals annually, with a live release rate of about 94%.

ACHS’s 16,900 square-foot building was served by a 45-ton air-to-air HVAC/R system installed in 2010 and comprised of three 10-ton units and two 7.5-ton units. From the start, the system’s performance was inadequate for the comfort of both animals and staff. Even running at full capacity the system rarely brought temperatures below 80° during hot weather; and during winter the facility’s staff had to use space heaters to keep their offices warm. In addition, the units would frequently shut off, requiring a maintenance worker to manually restart them from the roof.

The system’s inefficiency came at a high cost—driving demand power consumption up to 90 kW, and pushing power bills as high as $6,000 per month. As a non-profit organization, ACHS couldn’t afford the estimated $110,000 required to install a new 45-ton air-to-air system.

The Solution

Demandside Energy Solutions was called in to offer an alternative approach to an expensive full system replacement. The Demandside team transformed ACHS’s existing air-to-air system into a hydronic system by integrating an Arctic Gator conversion unit and taking one of the 10-ton units and both of the 7.5-ton units offline. Additionally, the number of heat strips was reduced from five to just one. Later, Demandside installed a gas line and converted ACHS’s large, power-hungry industrial clothes dryer from three-phase electric power to natural gas for additional savings.

The Results

Since the conversion, comfort levels for animals and staff have been maintained at optimum settings on a continuous basis, year-round. “Demandside Energy Solutions continues to provide excellent customer service,” said shelter director, Margot DeConna. “They’re always available to address any issues we might be experiencing to ensure our animals and staff stay healthy and safe. And, thanks to their help, we’ve seen a significant decrease in our monthly energy consumption and on our utility bills!”


  • The system was dramatically streamlined from 10 compressors to only four, reducing the use of refrigerant proportionately. The problem with units shutting off was rectified
  • All five zones in the building now run consistently at desired temperatures: three at 70°, one at 68°, and one at 82°
  • The increased efficiency dropped average monthly demand consumption to from as high as 90kwh to below 50kwh
  • The average monthly electric bill was reduced from as high as $6,000 to $3,500
  • The Arctic Gator retrofit was less than 35% of the cost of a new air-to-air system
  • Return on investment was 1 1/2 years

    The graph below shows their energy usage before and after installation with a monthly power bill savings of 38%.
    Average usage-before is the HVAC usage based on 2015 GRU power bills. AG usage is Arctic Gator usage based on 2017 GRU power bills

    Egauge* graph showing results from installation of Arctic Gator (2016-2019)

    *Egauge is a live monitoring tool used by Demandside Energy Solutions on Arctic Gator systems.
    Click Here to view more information about this monitoring.

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