University of Virginia

Energy & Utility Master Plan and Cogeneration Study

Energy and utility planning and implementation for over 15 years.

Since 2003, AEI has been actively involved in the planning, design, and development of the energy and utility systems at the University of Virginia (UVA).

In collaboration with UVA, AEI has provided master planning, alternative energy analyses, and design for chilled water plants, main heat plant upgrades, and primary and backup power systems. Highlights follow.

Energy & Utilities Master Plan and Cogeneration Study, utilities master plan

Low Temperature Hot Water Conversion Project

Conversion of existing steam and medium temperature hot water heating distribution systems to low temperature hot water systems in UVA's central and west grounds areas, moving the campus toward more energy-efficient and maintenance-intensive infrastructure. The project also includes the installation of a 1,800-ton heat recovery chiller and conversion of more than 60 buildings to the new system. The new system will more readily permit future use of more efficient and sustainable technologies, further reducing overall campus consumption.

East Chiller Plant Phase I and II

Led the project team to design and implement a new, 16,000-ton ultimate capacity chiller plant on a site “created” by reconfiguring thoroughfares between an existing railroad corridor, a primary substation, and the main hospital. The compact and highly-efficient multilevel chilled water facility located pumps and primary electrical systems in the basement, chillers on the ground level, and low-noise cooling towers on the roof. Hydraulically interconnected with the existing North and South Chiller Plants to serve the precinct, the plant was delivered in 6,000- and 2,000-ton phases.

AEI has collaborated with UVA on numerous energy and utilities upgrades.

South Chiller Plant Expansion Phase II and III

Addition to existing 4,550-ton South Chiller Plant and 16,000-ton-hr Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system that serves critical loads in the rapidly expanding Health Care and Medical Research precinct. Located between the MR-4 building and the existing South Chiller Plant and TES tank, the new two-story plant was designed for an ultimate capacity of 6,000 tons, with an initial installation of 4,000 tons of electric centrifugal chillers. Hydraulic analysis determined impact of interconnection with two existing chiller plants and operation of the three plants as one virtual system. Subsequent upgrade addition of centralized back-up power (three 2500kW/3125kVA, 12.47kV diesel generators and associated paralleling switchgear with PLC automation) serves both the South and East Chiller Plants, in turn allowing them to serve the critical loads in the Health System chilled water loop.

Aquatic and Fitness Center (AFC) Chiller Plant Expansion Study & Implementation

Viability assessment of existing chiller plant mechanical and electrical system capacity relative to increased campus chilled water and hydraulic provision led to design of the AFC Chill Plant expansion, increasing capacity from 2,400 ton to approximately 7,000 tons. Project added five new primary chilled water and condenser pumps, one new secondary chilled water pump, five cooling tower cells (located per AEI options evaluation), and three new 1,500-ton electric centrifugal chillers for a total of 6,900 tons with provisions for future ultimate capacity of 7,500 tons.

Central Grounds Chilled Water Loop Upgrade

Design and installation of additional chilled water capacity to serve cooling loads of the Central Grounds Chilled Water loop. 1,200-ton electric centrifugal chiller in the basement of Bryan Hall classroom building and two new 600-ton cross-flow cooling tower cells in the existing Central Grounds cooling tower yard.

North Chiller Plant Upgrade Study

Study to determine the most cost-effective and reliable approach for replacing seven aged 1,200-ton chillers at the North Chiller Plant with up to 6,000 tons, either within the existing footprint or at an alternate location. Chiller sizes and energy sources (steam, electric, etc.) for chilled water generation were compared to meet precinct chilled water load growth over the next 20 years, considering reliability and firm capacity. Study conclusion led to creation of the new East Chiller Plant.

Energy & Utilities Master Plan and Cogeneration Study

Documenting deficiencies in existing energy and utility systems and planning for approximately six million gross square feet of capital renewal and growth over the next 25 years. The plan identified opportunities to reduce energy consumption, minimize financial and operational risks, enhance reliability and service, and evaluate the use of innovative renewable energy technologies to enhance environmental stewardship.

All recommendations consolidated into a master project List divided into five-year horizons over the next 25 years and incorporated with attributes into UVA’s Geospatial Information System (GIS) system. This allows “live” update of phased development and ultimate energy and utility systems configuration, easily referenced to support future planning and project development.

Newcomb Road Chiller Plant

Determined appropriate capacity, technologies, and configuration and developed acceptable siting and massing in aesthetically sensitive location for new regional chiller plant to replace five existing interconnected chillers. Initial capacity of 2,400 tons produced by electric-variable-frequency-driven centrifugal chillers with provisions for future building expansion to an ultimate capacity of 6,000 tons. 2,000 linear feet of new distribution piping connected to existing buildings and now also to central grounds distribution, increasing operational flexibility, reliability, and efficiency of both systems.

Alternative Energy Study

Evaluation of alternative energy and energy use technology options for implementation within the next 10 years, including geothermal heating & cooling, solar, wind, hydrogen and fuel cells, bio-energy fuels, and cooling, heating, and CHP generation. Technical briefs detailed each option’s benefits and drawbacks. AEI explored hybrid GHC in connection with regional utility plants, investigating heat sink and heat reservoir approaches and both horizontal and vertical field designs.

Assessments considered energy change and carbon impact, technical viability/maturity, market maturity, life cycle costs, projected future carbon tax or similar environmental fee, and impacts to UVA’s central teaching, research, and outreach missions.

Project Leaders