Case Study: Nova Southeastern University Central Energy Plant (Zone 4)

An extraordinary collaboration between Hill York and Nova Southeastern University. When the ice tank is built out to full capacity, it will be one of the largest ice storage facilities within the United States.

Project Name and Location:
Nova Southeastern University Central Energy Plant (Zone 4), Davie, FL
Client/Owner Contact:
Nova Southeastern University, John J. Santulli
General Contractor:
ANF Group, Inc., Alberto Fernandez
Completion Date:  
September 2009
Final Contract Amount: 
$12,500,000
Project Size:
4,600 tons

Project Scope: The new Central Energy Plant was a design assist effort with B&A Engineers.  The project required an intense fast track (Nova Track) construction schedule to meet the completion date, prior to the start of the school year.  All of the piping systems were preplanned and prefabricated to allow chilled water circulation within 90 days of on-site installation.  Intense planning and management strategies were employed to accomplish this goal on time and under budget.  Initially, the new Zone 4 Plant will be able to provide 4,600 tons of cooling capacity, with room for another 6,900 tons of cooling capacity as future campus expansion is constructed.  One of the main concerns with this project is how to run the plant continuously at peak efficiency to reduce operating costs.

utiliVisor, a state-of-the-art chiller plant oversight system was installed to facilitate real time, optimal efficiency.  The underground piping connects the new plant to the new lower school, auditorium and existing campus buildings. The concept of thermal ice storage is based on the premise that a majority of the mechanical equipment (chillers, cooling towers, pumps, etc.) will run during off peak times to generate ice. When periods of peak demand occur, all mechanical equipment will shut off (with the exception of one chilled water pump) and the ice will be used to cool the chilled water that is supplied to the campus, thus avoiding a large demand penalty.

Quick Summary

Objectives:  Build a new plant that can sustain the current campus, provide ability for future expansion cooling, and construct a thermal storage facility to reduce run cost

Project Location:  Davie, Florida

Major Decision Drivers:  Cost reductions, energy efficiency, environmental impact and life cycle cost

Building Type/Size:  Central Energy Plant to serve the entire NSU Campus and future campus expansions

HVAC Equipment: Two York Compound YK chillers, two 2 cell BAC cooling towers, two Tranter cross-flow plate frame heat exchangers, 144 8’ X 3’ X 6’ BAC ice coils, and six Bell and Gossett pumps; two 200hp, two 150hp, two 100hp

Total Cooling: Phase one 4,600 tons; final expansion 11,500 tons

Design Considerations: Self sustainability, green designs and life cycle cost

Unique Features:   utiliVisor Monitoring System installed by Energy Solution, Hill York’s Performance Group to show real-time efficiency for the plant

FPL Rebates: $581,280

Installation Date: Phase one, main plant, all piping, and 40% of HVAC equipment, 2009; 2010 and beyond for future needs

Download: NSU Central Energy Plant Case Study (PDF)

Case Study: Nova Southeastern University’s Central Energy Plant

Earlier this year, the International District Energy Association (IDEA) invited Hill York and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) to present on the university’s Central Energy Plant. The plant is a terrific success story because of the foresight in planning for efficiency and the savings which are projected to be 17.3 million dollars over the life of the system.

In 2008, NSU teamed up with Hill York and C. Davis Electric to create a Central Energy Plant that could sustain the university and provide for future expansion cooling while reducing run cost. The plant was built to provide chilled water to cool the campus. To reduce peak electric demand and operating costs, 19,800 ton-hours of ice storage capacity was installed. When completed, the plant will have a total of 72,200 ton-hours of ice storage capacity. The major HVAC equipment is monitored by utiliVisor, one of the tools used to fine-tune the plant to run at peak efficiency, further reducing energy usage and running costs. The chillers take advantage of off-peak utility pricing to avoid the high cost of electricity during peak hours. At full build out, the NSU chiller plant is projected to earn three million dollars in FPL rebates.

As the installation and mechanical contractor on record for the facility, Hill York was not only instrumental in the design and construction of NSU’s Central Energy Plant but also maintains its daily operations. This Central Energy Plant is recognized as one of the largest thermal energy storage systems in the United States.

During the International District Energy Association’s (IDEA) 104th Annual Conference and Trade Show, Hill York and NSU provided attendees with an exclusive tour of the Central Energy Plant. Held on June 5, 2013, this conference focused on highly efficient and clean district energy technologies deployed on an urban scale to deliver robust and reliable energy services.

Hill York’s President & CEO, Chip Lafferty, along with Rob Pulsifer, Hill York’s Director of Energy Services, Dr. George Hanbury, President and CEO of NSU, Pete J. Witschen, NSU’s Vice President for Facilities Management, and Al Smith, NSU’s Director of Physical Plant were honored to host worldwide industry leaders at NSU’s Central Energy Plant to promote its energy efficient features.

NSU is the largest independent institution of higher education in the Southeastern U.S. Located on a 300-acre campus in Fort Lauderdale, this university is home to more than 26,000 students.

Some key factors contributing to the innovative design and operation of the plant are as follows:

Ice Storage Facilities

  • 19,800 ton hours of ice storage, 79,200 ton hours at full build-out
  • 30 sets of coils per ice tank, five sets of coils per stack, six stacks total

HVAC Equipment

  • Two York Compound YK Chillers (2,300 tons each)
  • Two 2-cell CCS Cooling Towers
  • Two Tranter Cross-flow Plate Frame Heat Exchangers
  • 30 BAC Ice Coils
  • Six Bell & Gossett Pumps: two 200 hp, two 150 hp, two 100 hp Pipe – O.D. Galvanized Steel Pipe
  • 65,000 feet of pipe per stack
  • 390,000 feet or 73.86 miles of pipe total per ice tank
  • Capable of cooling 5,000,000 square feet of NSU’s campus
  • 32.5 degree chilled water leaving the plant

Electric Rooms

  • First Floor: 5,000 kVA oil filled transformers drop the voltage from 13.2 kV to 4.16 kV, C&D Technology battery system, 130 volts DC power supply, redundant charging system for GIS Switchgear Protection relays
  • Second Floor: State of the art 13.2 kV Siemens GIS Switchgear with touch screen

Download: Nova Southeastern University’s Central Energy Plant (PDF)