MSU Chemistry Building: Satellite Chiller Plant

A utility master planning effort determined a new satellite chiller plant was needed to serve the heavy chilled water demands of several teaching/research science buildings on the Michigan State University campus.

FTCH was asked to design the satellite plant as part of the planned Chemistry Building addition and renovation. This meant designing the installation of a 1,250-ton absorber, completing the preliminary design of two additional 1,250-ton absorbers for installation in the Chemistry Building, and setting up the interconnection of the new chillers to the three existing 1,250-ton chillers in the recently completed and nearby Biophysical Science Building. To accommodate phasing issues, this satellite plant was also interconnected to the existing central chilled water distribution system serving the Chemistry Building.

Project challenges included significant space constraints, which made routing the new 12-inch chilled water lines from the Chemistry Building to the Biophysical Science Building. Additionally, the cooling towers were designed to be mounted on the roof, which required an elaborate structural framing method to transfer the significant loads back into interior column locations within an existing mechanical penthouse.


1996 Engineering Team Award, Engineered Systems Magazine