The majority of our clients at Summer Consultants are government, military or institutional organizations. Because of that, many of the buildings we work on are not readily accessible to the general public, but occasionally we have a project that is. One weekend, without even planning it, I stumbled upon a project that I had a hand in very early in my career: National Parks Service’s (NPS) Old Stone House
The Old Stone House is a historic building located in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC. Smack dab in the middle of a commercial area, this house stands in contrast to the surrounding retail and dining establishments. The surrounding yard serves as a small park for pedestrians, while the first floor is open to tourists and the second floor serves as NPS office space. Our work included the replacement and upgrade of the HVAC system among other renovations.
It was interesting seeing how the building had changed since the initial project survey. I was reminded of several of the design challenges, such as the routing of the heat pump refrigerant piping and the late addition of plumbing and fire protection. Where other people were enjoying the benches in the park or the exhibits in the museum, I found myself looking at the condensing unit out back and looking for telltale signs of the construction work performed to implement the design.
It was the first time in my career when I really got to interact with a project outside of a work setting. All in all, it was a pleasant surprise and reminded me of why I enjoy being an engineer.