Fran’s Chocolates Factory
FSi was the mechanical engineer for the new Fran’s Chocolates LEED Platinum certified factory in the original Rainier Brewery building in Georgetown. The project restored the 100-year-old building and added a new 26,000 sf production space. Fran’s produces 20,000 of their signature caramels per day in the new facility, and hosts the public in a retail area, tasting room, and demonstration space.
The facility requires precise temperature and humidity control for the chocolate tempering process, and to produce chocolates of the proper consistency. FSi designed the mechanical systems for the heating and cooling rooms, each with humidity and temperature controls.
Ventilation systems include carbon filters for outside air to remove odors and particulate from surrounding freeways, breweries, and other nearby urban/industrial pollution and odor sources. The clean, odor-free environment our team provided is essential to the cooks’ ability to smell and taste each batch of chocolate and caramel to ensure it meets Fran’s high quality standards.
The historic building has 25’ ceilings, creating challenges for ventilation design. To bring ventilation from the ceiling-mounted ductwork to the factory floor, our design includes stratification fans to blow air down into the space below. This preserved the historical feel of the building, while providing the airflow and temperature control needed to meet Fran’s functional requirements.
FSi made a significant contribution to the project’s LEED Platinum certification with plumbing systems and high-efficiency fixtures earning LEED Water Efficiency points. We designed the HVAC system with highly efficient variable refrigerant flow systems, and a cost-effective standard VAV system. This project receive the 2016 ACEC Engineering Excellence Silver Award for “Future Value to Engineering Profession & Public Perception.”