Missouri University of Science and Technology (MS+T) Campus Geothermal Energy System

Existing sytem retrofit; Missouri University of Science & Technology (MS&T) Campus Geothermal Energy System; McClure Engineering

08/15/2013

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Engineering firm: McClure Engineering
2013 MEP Giants rank:
95
Project:
Missouri University of Science & Technology (MS&T) Campus Geothermal Energy System
Address:
Rolla, Mo., United States
Building type:
School (college, university)
Project type:
Other
Engineering services:
Automation & Controls, Code Compliance, Cx/Retro-Cx, Electrical/Power, HVAC
Project timeline:
October 2010 to June 2014
Engineering services budget:
$2.5 million
MEP budget:
$2.5 million

Challenges

The first challenge faced by McClure Engineering was choosing the type of system to best suit the campus's heating and cooling needs, as well as its desire for energy efficiency, minimal carbon footprint, and reduced energy costs. To find the best solution, McClure created an hour-by-hour energy model of the campus and modeled various options. The model was compared to metered data to verify its accuracy.

The project includes removing the old steam system and connecting 15 campus buildings to three central heating systems. The challenge was the conversion of all of the existing buildings to the new heating system (a low-temperature, 120 F system) as they were originally designed with other operating parameters. Because each building is unique, McClure examined them individually (on paper and on-site) to determine the optimal ways to make the systems work together.

The project summary and campus schematic from the Missouri University of Science & Technology project are shown. Courtesy: McClure EngineeringMcClure is currently facing the ongoing challenge of phasing the construction of the entire project, which includes work in existing buildings, construction of new heating/cooling plants, and miles of geothermal piping. Complications include coordinating the work of several subcontractors, minimizing the disruptions to the campus and building occupants, weather delays, and supplying heating and cooling to as much of the campus as possible while installations are completed.

Solutions

The ground source heat pump system was chosen for its ability to store rejected heat in the ground during the summer and use that heat for building heating during the winter. A unique feature of this design was the decision to utilize a hybrid system (with gas-fired boilers and existing electric chillers to shave the peak loads), which greatly reduced the number of wells required, enabled the project to fit within the university's budget, and provided redundancy in both the heating and cooling systems.

For heating, in many cases the best solution was to replace the coils in air handlers and terminal units in the buildings to work with the new, low-temperature heating system. This allowed the design to maintain high water temperature differentials, thus keeping flows and pump horsepower to a minimum in the buildings and plants.

McClure works closely with the construction manager (JE Dunn), the scheduler (CCS Group), and the school (Missouri University of Science & Technology) to keep the project on schedule and the occupants comfortable through constant communication with all parties. The project team is utilizing a variety of project management tools (including iPads) to facilitate collaboration, effectiveness, and efficiency.

See a presentation from McClure Engineers here.



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