University of Texas awarded for energy efficiency overhaul - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Efficiency  -  July 5, 2017

University of Texas awarded for efficiency overhaul

Photo of University of Texas's central chilling station and hot water plant, provided by Burns & McDonnell.

The University of Texas at Austin was recently recognized for its approach to energy efficiency amid an era of campus growth, which includes a $76 million project to add a new chilling station and a large thermal storage facility project on campus.

The project, completed in August 2016, upgraded the university’s district energy center and included the installation of a new 5.5 million gallon storage tank at the new chiller station, which provides 52,000 ton-hours of storage.

According to a news release, the technology allows the university to shift nearly 6 MW of power demand to off-peak hours. The project avoids the costs of adding more power generating capacity to the existing campus microgrid and generating units through the addition of new chilled water capacity.

"This project is a critical component to sustaining the growth of our campus, including the world-class Dell Medical School district and the Dell Seton Medical Center teaching hospital," Michael Manoucheri, associate director of plant operations for the university's utilities and energy management department, said in a statement.

The chilling system responds to issues associated with drought condition in the area by drawing on four potential sources of water, including recovered water from condensate produced by building air handling units and the plant’s local recovery system, as well as reclaimed gray water and domestic drinking water from the City of Austin.

The project followed a recent $800 million addition to the school’s medical campus. It received a Silver Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies.

Engineering design and construction of the Chilling Station No. 7 project was provided by Burns & McDonnell and Flintco, a Tulsa, Okla.,-based commercial contractor.

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