Farr West Engineering
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Case Study

Tahoe Keys Emergency Generator

Emergency generator design
South Lake Tahoe, California
South Lake Tahoe, California
Construction Value

Project Background 

The Tahoe Keys Property Owners Association (TKPOA) selected Farr West Engineering to design the installation of a permanent emergency generator at Well #3 in the Tahoe Keys neighborhood of South Lake Tahoe, California.  We provided project management, design services, bid support, and project close-out for this project. The design included several challenges including California air quality requirements, noise and color restrictions required by community codes, limited record drawings, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) permitting, and Liberty Energy utility requirements. Farr West made recommendations for a generator manufacturer and model and TKPOA selected an appropriate contractor. Farr West answered questions and reviewed submittals throughout the process and completed the close-out by documenting the as-built drawings for TKPOA’s files.

Contribution to the Well-Being of People and Communities

Until this project was constructed, the Tahoe Keys community relied on a mobile generator, which required the electric utility company to deliver and connect the unit during power outages. Without power to fill the well, during outages residents lived with water rationing or sometimes no water.  With a permanent generator onsite, backup power will immediately begin when the utility power goes out.  

Resourcefulness in Planning and Solving Design Challenges

The existing drawings for the electrical system were out of date and a site visit was necessary to ensure accuracy of the construction drawings. TKPOA also requested assistance to accelerate the installation time frame while minimizing cost. We began working with local contractors even before design was complete to obtain quotes immediately while maintaining competition among contractors.

Pioneering in Use of Materials and Methods

In order to blend in with the existing switchgear, an enclosure was specified that housed the automatic transfer switch and panelboard with electric circuits. This kept the overall electrical gear compact with an almost seamless addition.  Farr West also worked with the manufacturer to find custom colors for aesthetic value in the surrounding area.

Innovations in Construction

TKPOA planned to upgrade their SCADA in the future.  Extra conduits and wiring were installed between the generator and switchgear to minimize any future conduit and wiring work. This design will help TKPOA plan for future projects and helped provide cost saving innovations. 

Minimization of Impact on Physical Environment

In making room for the new equipment, the existing irrigation controller and a light fixture had to be relocated. In doing so, much of the landscape pavers were removed or demolished. To maintain the integrity of the site, matching pavers were specified, located, and installed. 

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