At a Glance
Heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration
In the California Heat, cooling HVAC systems of an advanced caliber are a necessary design element, especially in temperature-sensitive structures such as wine cellars and mortuaries. Enter Cold Craft, Inc., an HVACR contractor specializing in projects that have no playbook to work from. The firm has made a name for itself designing and installing precisely what the customer needs, whether it’s a custom-made system or a standard, efficient HVAC unit for a commercial structure, and it’s this kind of versatility that has led to the company’s success.
Cold Craft is headquartered close to the premier grape-growing region of Napa Valley. “There are a lot of folks around here that have a keen interest in wine— making it and of course drinking it,” president and founder Kent Penning says. In addition to boasting an abundance of wineries, the area also has many affluent local collectors maintaining impressive cellars in their own homes, and Cold Craft has won bids for HVAC systems in both kinds of spaces. Such projects cannot simply keep the wine cold, however—they must actually maintain a temperature between 55 and 60 degrees to allow the wine to age at the proper pace. Penning and his team therefore have had to craft systems that offer greater cooling power than standard air conditioners but not as much cooling power as actual refrigeration units.
Top 5 Favorite Products of Cold Craft
1. Bitzer compressors are so smooth and quiet that they can go anywhere and not be disruptive. They work particularly well in grocery stores and for processed cooling or special needs.
2. HY-SAVE liquid refrigerant pumps reduce energy usage from refrigeration and air-conditioning and increase capacity.
3. The Trane TCD360 rooftop-package unit is specially modified by Trane Creative Solutions to be a cooling-heating multizone replacement unit with integrated controls.
4. Zero Zone’s Crystal refrigerated merchandisers offer a true transformation for retail grocery stores and a clear alternative to open, multideck cases—up to 84% less energy, 35% more facings, 25% more capacity, and reduced product shrink.
5. The EarthLinked geothermal system is highly efficient and requires significantly less drilling than competing systems.
Down at the local morgue, the temperatures get even more precise. The deceased are “normally kept in a walk-in cooler at 38 degrees” to prevent aggressive decay without allowing the body to freeze, Penning says. And, when a body needs to be stored for transport, it’s moved to a different area with an even lower temperature—to prepare it for exposure to warm, humid exterior air. Wine-making and mortuary work might be world’s apart in other ways, but their exacting HVAC needs are similar, and the Cold Craft team has perfected its designs for both.
However, Penning’s team doesn’t just do cold. When Google wanted a better way to heat the water used on its campus, Cold Craft took an altogether different approach. “Google is very proactive about doing green things,” Penning says, explaining that his firm thus considered the options and suggested something efficient and sustainable. “We installed an EarthLinked geothermal system at their site to preheat the water they use for cooking and washing dishes.”
Aside from this portfolio of niche clients, Cold Craft also handles dozens of more conventional projects. When Santa Clara County decided to renovate the East Valley Mental Health Center, the government entity recognized the need for an HVAC specialist to replace the facility’s aging rooftop equipment. Penning says the county did their homework and knew the existing HVAC unit would need to be replaced; he added that the multizone unit was an “energy pig” that was making both hot and cold air all the time.
“The key is that we knew the equipment the building had, so we know what the solution was,” Cold Craft vice president Susan Nichol says. The firm replaced the outdated equipment with a Trane-packaged unit, which improved energy efficiency without subtracting comfort inside the building. Nichol says it was the right solution for the project because it fit the building and it fit its energy requirements.
From tiny craft wineries to large commercial projects, Cold Craft has the knowledge and flexibility to find the right solution to any HVACR problem. “Our specialty is versatility and adaptability,” Nichol says. “The nice thing about Cold Craft is that we’re the right size to be nimble.” ABQ