Utility upgrades to extend chilled water outage

A new chiller unit is moved into place in the City Campus utility plant in early February.
A new chiller unit is moved into place in the City Campus utility plant in early February.

An upgrade to the City Campus utility plant will extend a chilled water outage beyond spring break week. The updated dates for the chilled water outage are March 15-27.

"We've had some unforeseen conditions that necessitate a longer outage than previously announced," said Charlie Griesen, construction coordinator for Utility Services. "The earlier start allows us more time to perform necessary construction and maintenance and gives us additional time for testing."

The temporary outage is due to the replacement of UNL's first two chillers, which were installed in 1964 and provided air conditioning to City Campus and the state capitol building. The 47-year-old chillers are being replaced with larger, more efficient models.

The new chillers were moved into place and brought online in February. Griesen said during the outage, workers will be replacing large 36-inch diameter piping and large-diameter valves with new piping and valves.

Some of the new pipes will extend into what will be an eastward expansion of the City Campus utility plant. The extra space will allow for the installation of new pumps and support equipment.

"That includes a filtration system," said Griesen. "Those filters system will help keep residue in the system to a minimum, increase heat transfer efficiency across coils and remove air from the system."

Faculty, staff and students can expect to see the new space take shape in the next few weeks as the filter system will be delivered in April.

Griesen said the old system used 2,000-ton chillers (a measurement used to rate the output of chiller units). The new chillers are 2,500-ton models.

"The extra output will be beneficial as campus continues to expand in the future," Griesen said. "And, with more tonnage, we also are gaining more efficient equipment that is easier to maintain. It's really a win-win for the university."

Whenever possible, campus chilled water outage dates are selected to coincide with a low level of student activity on campus.

The outages are necessary to perform construction and maintenance that is not possible during normal utility plant operations.

No chilled water will be available for equipment cooling or air conditioning during the outage. Building air conditioning will be provided using cold outside air.

If warm outdoor temperatures occur during the outage, interior building temperatures may be elevated.

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the outage should contact Griesen at cgriesen2@unl.edu or 402-472-8612.

— Troy Fedderson, University Communications