Chicago Hotel's New Cooling Tower Gets a Lift

Chicago's Palmer House Hilton needed to replace its cooling tower and called on industrial and commercial HVAC firm Team Mechanical, Inc. (TMI) to aid with the purchasing and installation of the tower onto the roof of the 24-floor hotel. TMI worked with Maddock Industries to purchase the new $250,000, 112,000-lb. Marley Cooling Technologies cooling tower. That was the easy part. The hard part was closing down part of Chicago's Loop and lifting the equipment onto the hotel's roof via helicopter.

One weekend this past spring, State and Monroe streets were shut down so that a S61 helicopter, with a lift capability of 8,500 lbs., could lift four lower cells and four upper cells of a four-cell cooling tower onto the roof of the Palmer House. Weighing more than 7,700 lbs. per piece, the helicopter lifted each of the eight pieces onto the roof individually, requiring a two-pilot operation. Once the pieces were in place, Maddock worked with TMI to coordinate the installation of the new cooling tower and connect the new equipment to the existing condenser water piping and cooling tower system.

"Because Palmer House's cooling tower was old and the original manufacturer was no longer in business, the hotel did not want to spend money on costly repairs to fix an outdated machine," said Matt Maddock, president of Maddock Industries. "It made sense for the Palmer House to purchase and install a new cooling tower with expert assistance from TMI."

In order to help the Palmer House justify the capital expense of a new tower, Marley and Maddock conducted a productivity analysis. The analysis, which consisted of an extensive audit of the original system and modeling of the new system, demonstrated how replacing the tower would pay for itself in reduced maintenance and energy savings. The justification for upgrading was there, with more than $60,000 per year in energy savings alone.

Constructed of stainless steel, the new cooling tower is 23 ft. tall and 22 ft. wide and has a life expectancy of more than 25 years. Maddock Industries also outfitted the new tower with variable frequency drives from Yaskawa, an efficiency feature that is expected to save the Palmer House energy.

"The best part about the new cooling tower is that not only will it keep guests cool, it is environmentally sound and will save the hotel money in the long term," said Bob Doessel, vice president of construction operations for TMI.

For more information on Marley Cooling Towers, visit

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