Standby Generator and Administration Facility

Existing building renovation and expansion; Standby Generator and Administration Facility; CDM Smith


Building exterior showing rainwater collection system Courtesy: CDM SmithEngineering firm: CDM Smith
2013 MEP Giants rank:
Standby Generator and Administration Facility
Elmhurst, Ill., United States
Building type:
Project type:
Existing building renovation and expansion
Engineering services:
Automation & Controls, Code Compliance, Cx/Retro-Cx, Electrical/Power, Fire & Life Safety, HVAC, Lighting
Project timeline:
November 2007 to December 2012
Engineering services budget:
$2.5 million
MEP budget: $15 million


Building exterior. Courtesy: CDM SmithAs part of the Standby Generator and Administration Facility project, CDM Smith applied several original or innovative design concepts. The DuPage Water Commission (DWC) had two significant goals for project: (1) to provide sufficient standby power for the DuPage Pumping Station in order to improve the operational reliability and water delivery to the customer communities and residents of DuPage County, and (2) to incorporate sustainability into the project and achieve the U. S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - New Construction (LEED-NC) Silver certification level.

Each of the three 34.5 kV, 7500 kVA utility services from Commonwealth Edison required a variety of improvements for the new standby generator system. This was addressed by advance planning and coordination with Commonwealth Edison such that the majority of its improvements were New controls in electrical room. Courtesy: CDM Smith constructed and completed well before the construction of the standby generator facility and without undo operational impact or outages to the DPPS. In order to incorporate the new standby power generators into the electrical system at the DPPS, significant modifications to the existing medium voltage power distribution system were required. These entailed the addition of a new 4160 V switchgear lineup as well as new underground ductbanks and feeders between the pump station building and the standby power facility. CDM Smith's design incorporated a staged approach to allow these improvements to be constructed without causing outages or operational impact to the DPPS or the customer communities served by DWC.


With the addition of the standby power system to the three existing Commonwealth Edison services, the DPPS had four independent power sources. New medium voltage switchgear lineup. Courtesy: CDM Smith This added inherent flexibility and complexity to the former simple electrical system at DPPS. CDM Smith's electrical design concentrated the utility services and the new standby power system in a new lineup of automated medium voltage switchgear. Through the automation, DWC can fully control and monitor the generators, the utility sources, and each of the switchgear circuit breakers from a location safe from exposure to the variety of safety hazards associated with large machinery and medium voltage electrical systems. CDM Smith initiated a proactive strategy of communication and planning between Commonwealth Edison and DWC, allowing many of these improvements to be completed nearly a year prior to the construction of the standby power facility. CDM Smith successfully implemented a procurement contract for the DWC to directly purchase the units and assign them to each contractor. This approach saved DWC approximately $1 million in capital cost, or 15% of the total engine-generator cost for the project. Mechanical system installation on roof of generator building. Courtesy: CDM SmithAdditionally, all of the units are mechanically and electrically identical, which provides consistency benefits for the maintenance and operation of the equipment.

All of the improvements associated with the project occurred without modification or expansion of DWC's property. As such, the project team made effective use of the existing site, was able to exceed the stormwater management requirements of LEED-NC, and reduced the post-project stormwater runoff quantity by 30% of the pre-project conditions. New stormwater management features such as the green roofs, detention pond, bioswales, and rainwater cistern system were added without adding new land or property to the site. Security improvements were also easily integrated into the site.

CDM Smith was able to complete the project nearly $6 million below, or at 80%, of its budgeted project cost of $30 million. Three key project decisions accounted for nearly a third of this reduction: (1) reuse of the structure from the existing vehicle maintenance facility, (2) pre-purchase/procurement of the diesel engine-generators for the project, and (3) using one portable diesel engine-generator in lieu of a stationary engine-generator at each of the Lexington and DuPage Pumping Stations.

Through the project's achievement of the LEED-NC Silver certification, DWC's sustainability goals were fully realized and exceeded. By fully implementing the LEED-NC program, the project was able to incorporate all aspects of sustainability and received three Innovations in Design credits for exemplary performance in the reduction of water usage, incorporation of daylighting and outside views into the facility, and through the construction waste management which diverted nearly all waste from the landfills.

View CDM Smith's presentations: "Entrant's contribution to the project" and "Standby generator and administration facility."

Interior picture of generator room. Courtesy: CDM Smith Control room with automated control of facility systems. Courtesy: CDM Smith

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