CDM Smith: University of Connecticut, On-Call MEP/Life Safety & Fire Protection, Cooling Tower

Electrical, power; fire, life safety; cooling tower; and system replacement

08/09/2018


A slightly more distant exterior view, looking west, which shows the proximity of the neighboring apartments.Engineering firm: CDM Smith

2018 MEP Giants rank: 63

Project: University of Connecticut, On-Call MEP/Life Safety & Fire Protection, Cooling Tower

Location: Stamford, CT, United States

Building type: Cooling tower

Project type: System replacement

Engineering services: Electrical, power; fire, life safety

Project timeline: April 2015 to July 2018

MEP/FP budget: $118,715

 

Challenges

CDM Smith faced issues with existing infrastructure and acoustics (noise). The campus operates awater-cooled chilled water system thatserves the HVAC system in the building at One UniversityPlace. The two-cell cooling tower, which provides heat rejection for this system, was near the endof its useful life. CDM Smith investigated tower replacement options to ensure the system continuesto operate reliably. The sound produced by the tower installation was a significant factor in determining the course ofaction for two reasons:First, Code dictated a maximum allowable generated noise level, aboveambient, that could be present at the property line. Second, the University desired to minimize theacoustic impact on the apartment building which sits adjacent to the tower installation.

Exterior side view, looking west.Interior view looking up under the two cooling tower fans.An exterior view looking northwest. This is the air inlet side of the tower, which faces away from the apartments.

Solutions

CDM Smith worked with an acoustic consultant to measure ambient sound levels as well as the sound levels produced by the existing towers. This data noise level was used as a baseline noise level for the selection, installation and control strategy of the new towers. The replacement equipment was a cross-flow cooling tower with ultra-quiet propeller fans and acoustical discharge extensions on the fans. The selected model was only open on one side. Therefore; there was no direct sound path from the cooling tower to the adjacent apartment complex. The project resulted in a tower installation,which is 5 to 9dB lower than the ambient noise level and uses less fan energy than the original equipment. The construction process was phased to ensure that the continuously operating chilled water system without any outages.



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