The project included the installation of ground source heat recovery chilllers, construction of a geothermal loop, construction of well fields, heating water and cooling water distribution loops, and required modifications to building HVAC systems. This project created three geothermal regional plants. The regional plants are located in McNutt, Straumanis-James Hall, and the recently completed James E. Bertelsmeyer Hall.
These plants contain screw type heat recovery chillers and serve adjacent buildings with heating water through a new heating hot water distribution system. Supplemental boilers have been installed in the regional plant to provide first cost savings, peak load energy savings, balance of loads to the geothermal wells, and flexibility of energy usage. The heat recovery chillers also are connected to the chilled water distribution system to provide the base cooling source. The chilled water distribution system has been modified and upgraded into a two pipe system. The system reuses the existing electric chillers and cooling towers located on campus, which have been reconfigured to work with the new chilled water distribution system.
The benefits of regional plants include less equipment to maintain, running geothermal water only to the regional plants, longer equipment life of screw chillers compared to modular type, and taking advantage of load diversity between buildings.
To reduce piping costs and simplify phasing and growth of the geothermal campus system, each regional plant has been tied to a dedicated well field. The well fields have been sized to optimize the payback from utility cost savings.
Buildings that are not in the scope of the geothermal heating system under this project that had used steam from the power plant for heating have been retrofitted with dedicated steam boilers or upgraded with other systems until those buildings can be added to the future geothermal plants.