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Work In Progress Construction updates.

Chaucey Work in Progress
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  • » Central Energy Plant will break ground soon

    With the healthy development and expansion of Coastal Carolina University comes the need for a more efficient, eco-friendly central heating and cooling system to maintain the continued and expected future growth on campus.

    A new Central Cooling and Heating Plant, for which project bids will be accepted through January 2011 and construction is expected to begin February 2011, is the first in a series of plant phases that will be the answer to this necessity.

    According to Ron Gardner, project manager with CCU’s facilities planning and management department, Phase 1 of the 7,200-square-foot Central Cooling and Heating Plant, to be erected behind Evergreen Hall, will supply 1,000 tons of cooling capacity. This will serve the existing Smith Science Building, Kimbel Library, Wheelwright Auditorium and Lib Jackson Student Center, as well as the proposed 40,000-square-foot Science Annex and 18,000-square-foot library expansion. The central plant will also be sized to accommodate existing and future buildings within serviceable range. It’s scheduled for completion by October 2011.

    Inside, the plant will house state-of-the-art centrifugal chillers (vapor-compression refrigeration machines), cooling towers, pumps, support equipment and a control system to increase energy efficiency.  The cooling capacity, in fact, will be an estimated 25 percent less in size than the combined cooling capacities of the individual buildings served by the plant.

    Conservation features incorporated into the system are rainwater harvesting and the recovery of condensate, or water, from the Science Annex cooling system. Both will return water to storage tanks adjacent to the plant, where it will be recycled in the cooling tower, thus reducing the amount of water purchased from the local utility company.

    “The central plant is also intended to replace the equipment outside the buildings, to unload the burden by burying the lines underground,” says Gardner.

    An underground chilled water distribution system from the plant to each building will replace the outside air-cooled chillers and support equipment currently at each building. Every building in the system will be heated with natural gas fuel.           

    Because of these components, the plant will contribute to the new Science Annex and library expansion receiving LEED Gold certification. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system. LEED rankings rise from certified to silver to gold to platinum levels.

    “I know that any project on campus that Ron Gardner is involved with will be extremely energy-efficient,” says Daniel Abel, associate professor of marine science at CCU and director of the CCU Sustainability Initiative. “If these buildings receive LEED Gold certification, CCU will assert itself as a leader in sustainable building practices, saving money and reducing our carbon footprint. The facilities management and planning folks deserve an award for their dedication to green building practices.”

    Campus growth is anticipated to boil over from the initial 1,000-ton cooling capacity, creating the need for an estimated 2,800-ton cooling capacity over the next decade.  

                                                                                                                                -- By Ashley Morris