Category Archives: Central Plant Design

Upgrading Central Plants to Include Uninterrupted Power and Microgrids

Like a phone’s dial tone, uninterrupted power is often taken for granted until the power goes out and you need it. While power outages are a disruption for many businesses and organizations, for medical centers and clinics power loss can be life-threatening. As facilities age, the industry as a whole is seeing more demands for uninterrupted power in central plant specs. Continue reading

University Embraces Energy Efficient Energy Plant

The University of Minnesota is a great example of a campus converting to newer technology and realizing big savings from converting to a new main energy plant.  An article on the Big Ten Network website highlights the upgraded system and the people who make it work.  Continue reading

2018 Hospital Construction Survey Addresses Hurricane Hardening

Designing and building central plants for hospitals is no longer limited to efficient systems with redundancy for critical components.  The lessons learned in Texas and Florida after major hurricanes are leading to changes in design and construction approaches for medical systems and similar environments.

According to the 2018 Hospital Construction Survey, conducted by The American Society for Healthcare Engineering, 89 percent of facilities professionals consider “resiliency” when designing and building new spaces.  Resiliency in construction means structures and components that resist both natural and human caused disasters, and allow for fast recovery after events. Continue reading

Technology is Changing Mechanical System Design and Installation

It’s no secret that India is a rapidly growing technological powerhouse, and when Jaguar built a new regional headquarters in Manesar, sustainability and renewable energy were top considerations.  The completed 12-acre campus uses solar energy, radiant cooling systems and re-utilizes all waste. Continue reading

The Importance of Experience and Expertise

A recent article in the UK publication Modern Building Services magazine provides a clear illustration of why experience and expertise is important in utility plant design and construction.  The article describes a project that replaced eight chillers on the roof of a BBC building, which would not be particularly noteworthy – except for the fact that the chillers failed prematurely due to being installed in an area that restricted critical airflow. Continue reading

Risk Management for Central Plant Systems During Construction

Central utility plant construction involves the installation or modification of mission-critical systems that must continue to perform during buildout.  Boilers, chillers, cooling towers and similar infrastructure can occasionally go off-line for planned maintenance, but certainly not for the extended time periods required in new construction.  Unfortunately, in many cases a new plant must occupy the existing footprint, adding to the planning required and increasing the potential for service interruptions or complications. Continue reading

Packaged Utility Plants:  Are They Really Plug-And-Play?

Over the past few years, the central utility plant construction industry has experienced increased use of pre-manufactured, or “packaged”, central utility plant strategies.  This factory-built approach to delivering central cooling, heating and power has the potential to positively impact project schedules, costs and quality.

However, there are some misconceptions.  For example, owners and contractors may be tempted to think these packaged solutions are “plug-and-play” – where all the coordination happens before shipment, driven completely by the packaged plant manufacturer.  In that case, on-site field work for assembly, start-up and commissioning is more of an afterthought. Continue reading

The importance of Design in Central Utility Plant Construction

Commercial construction is a complex endeavor, made even more so when you consider the mechanical systems needed to effectively control large commercial and industrial spaces.  Consider a hospital, or large university dormitory — each has very specific needs for heating, cooling, electricity, water, wastewater and fire suppression systems.  However, the nature of the building’s use significantly changes the construction approach needed. Continue reading

A New Take on the Modular Plant

Using a prefabricated, modular approach to central plant construction is an increasingly popular approach, when compared to traditional construction techniques.  Modular construction isn’t always the best solution for plant construction, but in many cases, there are several advantages to the property owner, management, builder, and end-user. Continue reading