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The UIUC Campus used 9.2% less raw energy in FY09 than FY08.

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Please contact Facilities & Services, 1501 South Oak, Champaign, IL 61820 for information.
Regional Central Chilled Water System

Background

In the late 1990's, air-conditioning on the 2000-acre campus was supplied by a fleet of old and deteriorating chillers. Of the 89 operating machines, 60 were steam-fired absorption machines, 80% of which of which were installed in the 60's and 70's and past their expected useful life of 25 years. The remaining 29 chillers were electric-drive and generally newer, but employed freon refrigerants being phased out by the Montreal Protocol. Compounding the chiller age and maintenance issue was the multitude of cooling towers serving them: 56 single and multi-tower installations in similar aged and deteriorated condition. Maintenance of all this old equipment presented a huge annual cost, approaching $2 million. A major influx of one-time funds, could replace the aging chillers and towers, but at the same time perpetuate the annual maintenance costs for such a large fleet.

Regional Plant Concept
After a detailed cost/economic study by an outside consulting firm, an alternative chilled water configuration was identified — that of a handful of regional chilled water plants serving a large central piping loop that would connect campus buildings. This scheme offered several clear advantages:
  • reduced number of chillers and concomitant maintenance, (from 89 chillers to approximately 20)
  • increased load diversity, i.e. one chiller could feed multiple buildings at increased efficiency
  • increased dependability, in that individual buildings would not be susceptible to failures of a single old resident chiller