By Erick Allen and DJ Hubler
The University of Utah (U of U) Health Science Campus houses nearly 4 million square feet of critical patient care, laboratory and educational space. In 2017, the U of U broke ground on several new cutting-edge buildings—totaling nearly 800,000 square feet—transforming the campus. The university realized that their existing chilled water plant didn’t have the capacity to meet the loads of these new buildings scheduled to come online.
The U of U Planning, Design and Construction (PDC) team studied how best to meet this new cooling load—either by adding new chillers at a cost of nearly $40 million, or by significantly decreasing the cooling load in existing buildings. Reducing the load in the existing buildings could be accomplished for less than $25 million and would also result in ongoing energy savings. The choice was clear, and the university set out to find a partner to help them design, build and execute these energy-saving measures.
The PDC team chose McKinstry as its partner, with a dual goal of reducing the load on the chilled water plant by at least 2,000 tons and saving enough energy in the process to pay back the capital used to fund the project within 10 years.[Read more…]