Project Profiles: Hospitality and Entertainment

O’Toole’s Irish American Grill & Bar, Royal Oak, Mich.

Retrofit Team

HVAC, Ductwork And Air Curtain Installer: Pro Mechanical Services Inc., Trenton, Mich., (734) 676-9565
Down Flow And Kitchen Ductwork Fabricator: Steve’s Sheet Metal Shop, Hazel Park, Mich., (248) 543-0933
Air Curtain Manufacturer’s Representative: Buyline Building Products, Rochester, Mich., (248) 651-1328

Materials

A recent remodel included improvements to the bar area, outdoor patio, restrooms, HVAC systems and more. The most critical factor in creating the indoor/outdoor experience is seven air curtains above 46 feet of retractable glass walls and overhead doors. The air curtains separate the indoor environment from flying insects, hot and cold temperatures, and vehicle emissions when the glass walls and overhead doors are open.

The seven air curtains separate the indoor environment from flying insects, hot and cold temperatures, and vehicle emissions when the glass walls and overhead doors are open.

The seven air curtains separate the indoor environment from flying insects, hot and cold temperatures, and vehicle emissions when the glass walls and overhead doors are open.


During moderate weather in spring and fall and nearly every day from May through September, the bar’s owner Keith Wadle opens the glass walls and overhead doors. The air curtains, which are mounted to the interior top of the frontage wall, discharge a “curtain” of air that meets just inside the 3-foot-high exterior sill. While energy savings wasn’t the primary goal, the air curtains prevent more than 75 percent of the building’s air conditioning or heating from escaping outdoors.

Air curtains are designed for doorways and openings, but typically occupants don’t sit in or near the opening. The bar’s most popular seating is under the air curtains. Therefore, the manufacturer’s engineering department customized the blower assemblies for a lower velocity while providing the necessary 1,407 feet per minute at window-sill level for performance. The customization required a factory-tested balance of protecting the opening while preventing napkins or tips from blowing off tables. The air curtains include adjustable three-speed fans for precise onsite environmental separation.

Five 72-inch-long Commercial High Performance (CHC-10) air curtains in the bar area are powder coated to match the Irish green decor. The enclosed patio features two 96-inch-long Industrial direct drive (IdC-12) air curtains in a custom bronze to match the brown ceiling and exposed spiral ductwork.

Pro Mechanical Services replaced aging 5- and 7.5-ton rooftop HVAC units with two high-efficiency 5-ton units and one 7.5-ton unit, which maintain the restaurant’s three zones: kitchen, billiards/ large screen TV, and dining. The units are monitored and controlled by digital programmable thermostats.

Air Curtain Manufacturer: Berner International Corp.
Rooftop HVAC Units Manufacturer: Carrier
Programmable Thermostats Manufacturer: White-Rodgers
Spiral Duct Manufacturer: SEMCO LLC
Glass Doors Manufacturer: NanaWall

The Retrofit

The bar’s sales jumped 25 percent after the remodeling, which Wadle believes proves the open frontage is inviting to passersby and that suburban Detroit patrons prefer an outdoor dining experience with air comfort and indoor air quality. Wadle expects the sales increase to deliver a short payback on the renovation investment.

Photo: Berner International Corp.

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