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Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Full Text: Contractor Offered Cool Schools at $5990 per Classroom—Was Ignored by DoE
By Andrew Walden @ 4:50 PM :: 11587 Views :: Education K-12, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

Andrew Santos, President of Admor HVAC, presented the State Department of Education an April 20 offer to Cool Schools at $5990 per classroom.  But while the DoE was busily soliciting bids in the range of $138K per classroom, Santos’ offer was ignored. 

In a June 23 letter to the State Attorney General, Rep Matt Lopresti calls for an investigation of what he terms “price gouging.”  Writes Lopresti: “many contractors who submitted their bids over the past month significantly increased their bids over a short time period.  In some cases it was five times the original amount….”

Says Santos: “As one of the largest air conditioning distributors in the State of Hawaii we were not contacted about equipment, inventory or support of air conditioning projects for Hawaii schools.  Rather it appears they put the project in the hands of the solar industry.  The attached is my response to the specs created by the D.O.E.   I sent to D.O.E. and the State and did not get a response.”

Here is the compete proposal from Admor HVAC:

April 20, 2016

RFI- Solar Powered Air Conditioning Systems (T61000-16)

Attn: DOE- PCS; Mr. Christian Butt

3633 Waialae Avenue

Honolulu, HI 96816

Dear Christian,

I am writing to provide an alternative and more cost effective plan for cooling Hawaii’s classrooms.  As one of Hawaii’s largest distributors of air conditioning products, we believe that while solar air conditioning has merits, it is not the solution for our schools. Our proposal detailed here has already worked in Hawaii classrooms and can be done at a fraction of the cost of installing (2) Solar A/C units.

The installation of (2) 12,000 btuh units or 24,000 Btuh total is not enough cooling for most classrooms and requires two of everything. Our proposal requires a single system which will dramatically reduce installation and future maintenance costs while providing more cooling btuh’s with higher efficiency equipment. Dedicated solar a/c requires “doubling” of all equipment and accessories for each classroom. This also “doubles” the amount of compressors, fans, parts, circuit boards, electrical connections, thermostats, copper, drain lines, wall penetrations, outdoor space for condensing units, wall space in classrooms, and maintenance costs. In addition to the “doubling” of equipment and maintenance costs, the solar a/c units are three to four times more expensive than conventional ductless split systems as proposed here.

Dedicated solar a/c requires;

(2) Outdoor Condensing Units

(2) Indoor Fan Coils

(2) Condenser Coating

(2) Condenser Pads

(2) Copper Line Sets with Insulation

(2) Condensate Drain Lines

(2) Thermostats

(2) Electrical wiring, conduit, connections and disconnects to outdoor units.

(2) Electrical wiring, conduit, connections and disconnect to Indoor Units

(2) Electrical connections to solar panels

(2) Mounting Brackets and wall penetrations for indoor units

(2) Wall and hanging brackets for outdoor condensing units

(2) Condensate Pumps (if required)

(2) Condenser Security Cages (if required)

(2) Maintenance and service contracts

Dedicated solar a/c units are primarily made by China manufacturers and not offered by the main manufacturers of ductless such as Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Daikin, Panasonic, LG, Nordyne, Carrier and others. This means that the DOE will be installing “off” brands that may or may not be UL, ETL or AHRI listed and not have the local inventory, parts and support like the major ductless manufacturers.  When you consider the quantity of air conditioners being proposed for our schools, it is essential that there is local parts, service, training and support. The solar a/c units may be less efficient, do not have warranty, parts and distribution centers in Hawaii like the major ductless manufacturers and are much more expensive than conventional ductless systems.

I strongly believe that standard ductless air conditioning products offer the best and most cost effective solution when considering upfront and future maintenance costs. Standard ductless product as proposed here may be connected to any PV grid or panel system. I feel that it is important to keep the air conditioning and PV components separate. That is have a dedicated ductless a/c system as proposed and then install PV panels separately. I have this system in my own home and it works perfectly. If I have a problem with my air conditioner, I call a licensed air conditioning contractor and if I have a problem with my PV I call the solar company. This will greatly simplify installation and maintenance as a solar or electrical contractor does not have the expertise or skills to install or service today’s inverter driven air conditioners. This also allows the DOE to get the absolute best price on PV panels and it opens up the bidding to the major PV players in Hawaii. Keeping the air conditioning and PV separate is essential to reduce installation and maintenance costs plus will open up the bidding to the largest and most respected ductless manufacturers who have the infrastructure, parts, service and warranty here locally to support our schools. This will reduce costs.


Provide a turnkey, proven, reliable, energy efficient, long term and low cost solution for cooling Hawaii’s classrooms. The proposed solution is currently in operation at (12) classrooms in Waipahu and meets the following DOE requirements;

1. Installation provided by Licensed Air Conditioning and Electrical Contractors.

2. Air Conditioning System meets Department of Health (DOH) and American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) proper fresh air intake requirement of 15 CFM per person in a classroom.

3. Equipment is State-of-the-Art, high efficiency “inverter” technology which greatly reduces operating cost and inrush current on start-up.


The proposed solution is a ”template” approach that can be quickly applied to most Hawaii classrooms and provides for both air conditioning and fresh air ventilation in accordance with DOH and ASHRAE standards. The (12) existing installations were installed at no charge in March of 2015 at four Waipahu Elementary Schools;

· August Ahrens Elementary

· Honowai Elementary

· Kaleiopuu Elementary

· Waipahu Elementary

The cost for equipment, installation and electrical for all twelve systems was donated by Cutter Automotive Group. Admor HVAC Products and Fujitsu provided air conditioning equipment and fresh air make-up fans at no charge making these twelve installations free to the State of Hawaii. Complete installation of all (12) systems was accomplished in (5) days during Spring Break by Air Masters who is a locally, immigrant owned Hawaii small business. The installation of (12) complete air conditioning systems with fresh air make-up in five days is a testament of what can be done when local Hawaii business’s and the DOE work together to do what is right for our children and great teachers.


Furnishing labor and materials to install (1) Fujitsu Model 36RLXB Ductless Split System Air Conditioner with Fresh Air Make-Up system in various classrooms.

1. Indoor Wall Mounted Evaporators to be positioned high on interior wall.

2. Outdoor Condensing Units will be placed at ground level or hung out of the way of students.  Ground level units will include a concrete pad and locking security enclosure that allows for protection against theft while allowing for easy serviceability.

3. Install interconnecting refrigeration piping, condensate drain line and control wiring along the exterior wall.

4. Entire piping assembly to be enclosed in an esthetically pleasing, UV protected covering that can be painted.

5. Furnish and install a fresh air intake assembly to include the fan and all necessary air ducting, air devices and brackets. Fresh air fan system shall follow DOH issued requirements based on 30 students per classroom.

6. Professional Mechanical plans/drawings are not included in this pricing.

7. Electrical power hookup no included in price.

A. Equipment Power Requirement: 208/230V, 30 amp, single phase

B. Fresh Air Fan Power Requirement: 110V, 15 amp, single phase

Installation of Air Conditioning Equipment and Fresh Air Fan provided by Air Masters, Inc.


Pricing Schedule:

1. Air Conditioning Installation Materials Cost.

2. Air Conditioning Installation Labor Cost.

3. Fresh Air Intake Fan and Installation.

4. Concrete Pad and Security Enclosure Labor and Materials.

5. Cost of (1) Fujitsu Model 36RLXB Air Conditioning System.

6. Cost of (1) 400 CFM Exhaust Fan

$5990.00 Per Classroom*

*36,000 Btuh System – Price reduced if reduce to 24,000 Btuh.

Price does not includes electrical.

Price is based on maximum 25’ refrigerant piping.

Price does not include condensate pumps if required.

Price applies to classrooms that are applicable to the “template” approach only.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I am available via phone or email if you have any comments or questions. It is my sincere desire to provide our schools with the best possible air conditioning systems at the lowest possible price. As important as price is local inventory, parts, service, warranty, training and support. We have all of this available now and can immediately begin cooling classrooms.


Andrew Santos



Fujitsu 36,000 Btuh Specifications

Outside Air Inline Duct Fan Specifications

Fresh Air Intake Specifications

PDF: Full Text with photos

PDF: Specifications


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