Facility Maintenance Decisions

Replacing Chillers in Hot, Humid Climate





When maintenance and engineering managers prepare organizations for significant renovation projects, a certain amount of risk exists.

“Sometimes you turn over rocks and find good things,” says Jeffrey Plutz, director of engineering at the 2.24-million-square-foot Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention Center. “Sometimes you turn over the rocks, and you find bad things.”

For Plutz and his organization, the risk of taking on a large chiller renovation has produced significant rewards — both in monetary and energy savings. In the hot and humid Orlando climate, managers understand the importance of a functioning HVAC system to the organization and its occupants. So completing this type of project with flawless execution is essential to keeping the business up and running.

“We have at least a 350-day-a-year air conditioning requirement here in Orlando,” Plutz says. “If you’ve got indicators that are telling you that you could potentially experience a failure, taking any one of those three machines out of the loop could potentially be a problem. Being able to have one redundant, one online, and one offline to be protected (was important).

“From a cooling-tower standpoint, that was key. That we didn’t have any disruption in business, nor did we experience any kind of inconvenience for our customers.”

The hotel completed the $2 million chiller project in 3.5 years, and it follows in the organization’s mission to become more environmentally responsible in its maintenance and operations. Along with the chiller retrofit, the hotel has addressed water use in its landscaping and restrooms and improved the efficiency of its lighting system. All of these projects aim to help the resort enhance a reputation for environmental responsibility.




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  posted on 9/1/2008   Article Use Policy

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