University continues switch to centralized cooling systems over break

Kristine Philips

Tan lines and flip-flops weren’t the only changes seen on campus after spring break. Some of the buildings were “refreshed,” too.

The university took advantage of the small number of students and staff on campus during break to complete several building projects over the week. Several buildings had cooling towers replaced or removed from their existing structures and had general maintenance work done.

“This is part of an effort to conserve energy,” said Tom Euclide, executive director of facilities planning and operations.

Instead of using one cooling system for each building, buildings can be grouped together into loops that run off a larger chiller. Euclide noted this method allows the university to run one or two chillers at a time as opposed to 20.

To do this, maintenance staff removed cooling towers from the roofs of Williams and Satterfield halls and the fourth floor roof of the University Library. The cooling tower from Williams was reinstalled on the Music and Speech Center, which previously had an out-of-date system.

The large metal enclosure students may see on Satterfield Hall’s roof is a container for the air conditioning system that will be installed over the summer.

Euclide said the construction project is part of the preparation for summer work and part of the campus’s effort to maximize the efficiency of its cooling systems in trying to centralize them.

“It maximizes the efficiency of a chiller,” Euclide said. “Instead of running multiple chillers at minimal capacity, you’re running a few large chillers at maximum capacity.”

Contact general assignment reporter Kristine Philips at [email protected].