Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Visitor Center (Washington, DC)


Running parallel to the Potomac River from Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, DC, and on to Cumberland, MD, the Chesapeake & Ohio canal was originally designed in 1828 to connect the Chesapeake and Ohio rivers because southern traders were worried they would be affected by the new completion of the Erie Canal. The problem was, by the time the new canal finally reached Cumberland in 1850, the B&O Railroad was already there, rendering the canal obsolete. The project was ultimately abandoned and after several repairs to various sections due to flood and neglect, the canal was designated to the National Park Service in 1971. Today, the canal is a popular destination for Washington, DC residents to walk and run.


One of the popular destinations along the canal is the Chesapeake and Ohio canal visitor center in Georgetown. Providing authentic canal tours, the two story 150 year old row house was in need of a complete renovation.

The engineer in charge of the project specified the Unico System in order to protect the original architectural integrity. Dan Foley, owner of Foley Mechanical was the contractor hired for the installation. Dan suggested zoning the system and used a total of 8 tons of Unico. Unico’s duct design team laid out the plan for the whole system and designed a Unico 3 ton blower with a heat pump coil for the ground floor and a Unico 5 ton blower matched with a heat pump coil for the second floor. Both systems are supplemented with 10KW and 15 KW electric furnaces respectively, and use EWC Zoning Controls to split each floor. A total of 62 outlets were placed throughout the building to provide maximum comfort, while remaining completely unobtrusive as they blend into the décor.


Finally having the comfort that has been missing for 150 years, the visitor center employees can focus on providing guests with the great history that the canal has to offer, rather than focusing on being uncomfortable during the long summer days. Furthermore, by adding the Unico System, the historic building wasn’t marred by the addition of large ducts or soffits that would have been necessary with a different system.