Utility Master Plan & Heating Design

Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana, PA




We conducted an energy audit of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s central steam boiler plant, 24 MW cogeneration plant, and chilled-water operations to develop a Utility Master Plan for the campus steam and chilled-water systems. The University had four coal-fired water tube boilers, each rated at 30,000 lbs/hr, and four large gas-fired diesel generators each producing 11,000 lb/hr of steam. The cogeneration plant provided steam to make up shortages during peak demands. Chilled water was provided by a variety of individual electrical and absorption chillers.

Solution Details

Because of the operating conditions in place with the use of the cogeneration plant, for the first phase of the project, we recommended the replacement of two existing coal-fired boilers with two new gas-fired 30,000 lbs/hr boilers. The replacement of the aging boilers would bring an estimated $185,000 in annual operating savings, due to higher efficiency, lower fuel costs, and plant automation. The project had a simple payback period of 4.3 years.

We were retained to provide design and construction services for this project. The design included the demolition and removal of the two existing coal-fired boilers, and the adaptation of new boilers to existing systems and structures including foundations, piping interfaces, breaching connections, new electrical connections, fuel supply lines, local and remote (cogeneration plant) controls, lighting and equipment access to the building. The second phase replaced the remaining boilers, added dual fuel burner ability to the existing two units.

We also prepared a chilled water master plan, which evaluated chilled water options available to the University. A hybrid system utilizing a combination of variable speed centrifugal chillers, and absorption chillers utilizing steam from the cogeneration plant, was recommended and implemented. We also completed the first phase of the chilled water mechanical design with a 1,000-ton absorption chiller and the initial site distribution piping to five buildings. The central chilled water system is planned to be built in phases as the campus demands grow, and it will ultimately have 5,000 ton cooling capacity.

What They Said

“Your engineers and designers demonstrate an understanding of both the technical and economic aspects of implementing projects successfully.”

-Project Engineer

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$185k estimated annual operating cost savings

5,000 ton eventual campus cooling capacity

2 coal fired boilers replaced

4.3 year simple payback for boiler replacement