New outdoor air system brings great comfort to patio patrons
By John Morton
Last summer was bartender Amy Petrocelli’s first at the Crescent Club, and it was not only sweltering hot but red tide was often in the air.
Her main duties were working the historic tavern’s new outdoor patio, and it was rough.
This summer, things are so much different. A new, state-of-the-art dedicated outdoor air system is to thank.
“It makes our shifts so much easier,” Petrocelli said. “To be able to sit outside and not sweat is no nice. And what’s best is you still get to feel like you’re sitting outdoors.”
Owner Gary Kompothecras began the permitting process a year ago, but delays were commonplace. In June, the system was finally in place.
“In the summertime, no one wanted to sit outside,” he said as he sat at an outdoor table on July 16. “It’s now perfectly comfortable out here.”
The dedicated outdoor air system, which is the first of its kind for a business on Siesta Key and cost Kompothecras more than $100,000, creates droplets that dissipate, causing no condensation.
It’s described in more technical terms as a type of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system that consists of two parallel systems: a dedicated system for delivering outdoor air ventilation that handles both the latent and sensible loads of conditioning the ventilation air, and a parallel system to handle loads generated by indoor/process sources and those that pass through the building enclosure.
Kompothecras’ customers clamored for the system and are now enjoying its virtues.
“I did kind of hint at it,” said customer Kevin Maguire with a chuckle. “Now, we’re celebrating. We waited for more a year.”
Other customers agreed.
“When I was here last summer, I’d just sweat,” said Mary Eiken, a Peppertree Bay resident who is a regular at the Saturday free hot dog gatherings. “It’s now so much more pleasant to come here in the middle of the day.”
Said customer Derek Williams, “It feels like inside while we’re outside. It’s perfect.”
Added customer Gary Kortzendorf, “This is fantastic, especially on days like this.”
The system also allows Kompothecras to drop his transparent screens to keep out bright sun or heavy rain while keeping things cool and comfortable. The screens also keep in the sound during his nightly live music offerings.
“The air system really serves two purposes for me,” he said.