Committee OKs chilled water plant expansion, steam plant plans

November 09, 2017

University Park, Pa. – Continued support of Penn State’s sustainability efforts was again validated today (Nov. 9) through the approval of plans and funding for an expansion to the North Campus Chilled Water facility by the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning. In addition, the committee approved a team to design and build a combustion turbine replacement at the West Campus Steam Plant, both on the University Park campus.  

Expansion of North Campus Chilled Water System 

The North Campus Chilled Water Plant provides reliable and energy efficient centralized cooling as part of the campus chilled water system. In order to continue to meet the increasing campus cooling demand as new and existing buildings are added to the chilled water system, the system must be expanded. 

The project will include the addition of two chillers, three chilled water pumps, three condenser water pumps and supporting electrical and control equipment. In addition, structural and roof modifications will be necessary for three new cooling towers. 

The Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning approved the final plans and authorization to expend funds for the North Campus Chilled Water System expansion. The full Board of Trustees will consider approval on Nov. 10. 

West Campus Steam Plant Combined Heat and Power System  

With a continued focus on energy efficiency and with an increase in steam demand due to campus growth, a design-build team has been appointed to replace an existing inefficient boiler at the West Campus Steam Plant with a combustion turbine and heat recovery steam generator.  

The replacement will expand the current combined heat and power (CHP) system at University Park and increase the capacity to meet growing demand for years to come. The CHP system boasts a higher energy efficiency and eliminates transmission and distribution losses from a central power plant. As a result, the University would see a reduction in energy use and lower greenhouse gas emissions.  

 Additional benefits of the CHP system include: 

  • Up to a 10 percent savings of annual energy costs 
  • Providing 20 percent of the campus’s annual electrical demand and 30 percent of the steam requirements 
  • Risk mitigation by providing resiliency while reducing the carbon footprint associated with campus energy consumption 

The West Campus Steam Plant would maintain operations while the project is underway. 

The appointment of Mcgough Construction Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, was recommended.  


Last Updated November 10, 2017