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A $12 million upgrade of a chiller plant would be a big-ticket, all-consuming project for most institutional and commercial facilities. So when the affected building contains 1 million square feet of space and the entire operation sits on 3,230 acres, such an upgrade could almost get lost in the shuffle.
For Melvin Payne Jr., director of the utilities maintenance division at Miami International Airport, the project is all in a career’s work.
“This is an airport that happens to be a construction site,” Payne says. “We start at one end and go down to the other end. I’ve been here almost 30 years, so I’ve seen it all. We just start back over.”
Even so, the chiller plant upgrade is a major undertaking. Consider that the central chiller plant equipment includes seven water towers providing 34,320 tons of cooling, 28,000 tons of chillers, 8,200 horsepower of water pumps, and 800 tons of thermal — ice bank — storage, and about 5.5 miles of primary, secondary and tertiary chilled water lines.
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