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Susan Williams
IU Media Relations

Mark Menefee
IU Bloomington Utilities

Last modified: Friday, May 21, 2004

Upgrades to IUB chilled water system create problems in cooling campus buildings

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Due to the installation of new chillers that are connected to the central chilled water system on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, many faculty, staff and students are experiencing higher than normal building temperatures, said Mark Menefee, assistant director for utilities at IUB.

Menefee issued an update today explaining the $4.2 million construction project to replace two 1960s vintage chillers -- chillers 1 and 2 -- with larger capacity machines. The improvement to the infrastructure will increase the total plant capacity by 2,500 tons or nearly 20 percent.

As the project has progressed, it has been necessary to take chillers 3 and 4 out of service because of systems they share with the two being replaced. "This phase is nearly complete, and it is expected that chillers 3 and 4 will be placed back in service during the week of May 24," said Menefee. He added that it has not been possible to serve the cooling load of the 60-plus buildings connected to the central chilled water system during the past week of unseasonably hot weather.

"In response to the shortage of chilled water, university buildings have been prioritized, with animal labs and research areas receiving the highest priority," said Menefee. "All other buildings on campus have been placed into a curtailment rotation, which results in higher space temperatures than would be normal. These warmer building temperatures are not related to the campus' energy conservation efforts."

Menefee said that chilled water system operators are working to distribute cooling efficiently and maintain the best possible conditions in all buildings, while serving the campus' critical loads.

"We appreciate the fact that the lack of cooling is a major inconvenience and want to assure you that we are doing everything possible to maintain comfortable temperatures in building spaces," he said.

The new chiller capacity is expected to be in place during July.