Managing Airport Chiller Installation Project Offers Challenges
Given the complexity of the chiller plant upgrade and the goal of streamlining the operation of the chilled-water system, it was essential for Payne’s department to be involved in its planning and execution.
“Maintenance and engineering scoped the project and provided design and construction project management,” Payne says, adding that he provided design criteria for energy-efficient chillers with the latest refrigerant.
While contractors did all project work, he says, “We were the project managers. The in-house staff guided and met with the (architectural and engineering) firms and monitored the actions of the construction team and those who did the renovations.”
This role was not without its challenges. One challenge involves adjusting water temperatures in the new set-up.
“We have to control the temperature difference between the chilled-water supply and chilled-water return to approximately a 15-degree temperature difference,” Payne says. “We will achieve this goal through testing and balancing of the chilled water system and by monitoring the automation system.”
A second challenge is maintaining smooth operations during the project.
“It’s very difficult to take on a project when you’re trying to operate an airport at the same time,” Payne says. Among the challenges was efficiently operating the plant while renovating and making the necessary upgrades to pumps, controls, and cooling towers. Addressing the challenge meant working closely with contractors.
“The plant operators there had to work in conjunction with the (construction) schedule and the contractor as they made changes,” he says. “So staff had to be there to assist with that. Sometimes, we’d have to come back at night and do a shutdown of portions of the plant.
“Then the contractor could come in and replace valves, and the staff would start the plant back up. So the staff would work in conjunction with the project schedule and assist when they’re replacing pieces of equipment and controls.”