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Central Plant Utilities Expansion

The expansion of the UH Central Plant involves a $45 million upgrade to the existing equipment. The scope of work for this project includes:

  • Expand the Central Plant building to the west side to add additional bays for the replaced Chiller# 5, and two new chillers 2500Tons each, and one new cooling tower cell.
  • Replace all existing cooling towers-1 to 4
  • Replace two 60,000 lb/hr boilers with low NOx high efficiency boilers
  • Modify existing piping, electrical and controls systems to accommodate new equipment and modified existing equipment.

Central Plant Rendering

What this means for the university

This project is critical for Tier One and campus expansion and has a number of goals. First, the Central Plant’s existing equipment is past its manufacturer recommended life which makes it increasingly expensive to maintain therefore replacement is critical. Secondly, older equipment causes our current plant to be energy inefficient and not as clean when compared to new state-of-the-art technology—a major problem in an air quality non-attainment zone like Houston. The federal government and EPA have mandated that we replace existing equipment with new lower polluting equipment as part of the directive that calls for Houston to meet clean air requirements. Third, with the increased efficiency we will reduce energy usage by 3-4%; we’ll save significant money and reduce the university’s carbon footprint dramatically. Finally, this project will increase the Central Plant’s capacity to serve future buildings that are needed to support our Campus Framework Plan, house Tier One research, increase on campus housing, and add extra instructional and student support space.

Shah Smith & Associates managed the pre-design and also completed the construction documents. This massive project is scheduled for completion by spring 2013.