Satellite Chiller Plant to cool down University

Alex Cronin/ Contributing Writer

The University’s quick expansion has taken a toll on its cold water system.

According to John Cal, associate vice president of Facilities Management, the University’s cold water system is overtaxed due much in part to the University’s extremely fast expansion in recent years and large influx of students on campus at any given time.

The University is constructing on a plan intended to fix the situation.

On the northeast side of the Modesto Maidique Campus by the Academic Health Center 4 currently under construction sits the University’s new Satellite Chiller Plant.

“Without the SCP, MMC will not have the chilled water production capacity it needs to supply the buildings over the next five years,”  Cal said.

Construction began March 2012 with the plan of installing high efficiency centrifugal chillers and cooling towers. It will connect to the existing chilled water loop on campus that supplies cold water to most of MMC.

The MMC chilled water loop currently operates from the central utility plant and the adjacent satellite chiller plants located just west of Viertes Haus. Together, the two plants operate with seven chillers and towers to meet current demand.

The project is funded by the state of Florida through Public Education Capital Outlay funds.

Originally planned for five chillers and five cooling towers, the facility’s projected budget of $14.1 million was cut nearly in half to $7.6 million because of a lack of PECO funds. Currently, only two of the five sets of chillers and towers will be completed, but the building will have enough available space to add the rest as the budget allows.

“Without these facilities being built to pick up the slack, the burden on the existing chiller system will become too great for it to handle due to the fast expansion of the University,” Cal said.

The plant is also part of an overarching plan by the University to improve its energy conservation and efficiency. SCP’s ability to operate continuously is expected to relieve stress on the outdated chilled water loop, thus improving energy efficiency.

When the project is complete it will also serve as a regional source of chilled water during a power outage.

The project is scheduled to be operational by March 2013. Once completed, additional funding will be sought to finalize the project and make the University solely reliant on the SCP for its chilled water needs.

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