Houston reaps benefits of energy-efficient equipment

The city of Houston recently implemented a number of energy conservation measures including replacing existing HVAC equipment, making central plant improvements, updating building management systems, retrofitting existing light fixtures, adding lighting controls, and installing new plumbing fixtures.


Two 500-ton Daikin McQuay Magnitude oil-free chillers keep theater enthusiasts cool in the two acoustically superior theaters at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Courtesy: HTS TexasIn 2009, the city of Houston selected Schneider Electric for a $9.6 million performance contract involving phase one enhancements to seven city buildings that delivered annual energy savings of 28%. The second phase aims for Houston to realize 34% in energy savings for each year of the 15-year contract. Together, the city of Houston and Schneider Electric then turned to HTS Texas, an HVAC equipment manufacturer, to provide energy-efficient HVAC expertise and equipment for seven of the buildings.

The HVAC options were first evaluated for their ability to effectively reduce energy consumption in existing buildings. Initially, HTS Texas and Schneider Electric engineers considered whether to install standard centrifugal chillers or magnetic-bearing chillers. Ultimately, the team recommended magnetic-bearing chillers that offered a cost-effective, sustainable, and energy-efficient option that contributes U.S. Green Building Council LEED rating system points for enhanced refrigerant management and optimized energy efficiency. Magnetic-bearing chillers have an advantage on lifecycle payback analysis through a frictionless design and oil-free refrigeration circuits.

In addition to tight deadlines, safety preservation concerns had to be strictly managed while crews maneuvered large equipment and cranes through the crowded metropolitan landscape and installed equipment in occupied, public buildings—several of which were historically significant.

A Daikin McQuay Magnitude chiller is lifted by a crane for installation at the City of Houston City Hall. Courtesy: HTS Texas

All solutions were successfully implemented by HTS Texas, Schneider Electric, Rincon Air & Heat Co., Graco, C-Air-Two 290-ton Daikin McQuay water-cooled, magnetic-bearing chillers (WMCs) at City HallS Mechanical, Kilgore Mechanical, and McQuay. The equipment installed across the various city of Houston facilities included:

  • Two 290-ton Daikin McQuay WMCs at City Hall Annex
  • Eighteen McQuay Air-Handling Units at the 28-story Houston Police Dept. (HPD) headquarters
  • One 290-ton Daikin McQuay WMC at HPD’s North Police Station
  • Two 290-ton WMCs at HPD’s Southeast Police Station
  • Two 170-ton Daikin McQuay WMCs at the 104,000-sq-ft Houston Municipal Court building
  • Two single-compressor 500-ton Daikin McQuay WMCs at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts.

Following the first round of downtown projects, HTS Texas partnered with E&C Engineers and Kilgore Mechanical to supply two 250-ton McQuay water-cooled, frictionless chillers, two SEMCO Pinnacle energy-recovery units, and a Daikin VRV system for the 190,000-sq-ft Central Permitting Center downtown. The LEED Gold building, which recently was converted into a multi-office structure from a 100-year-old rice warehouse, serves as a one-stop permitting center for the city and the permanent home of the city’s Green Building Resource Center.

Information provided by HTS Texas.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.