$7 million campus heating and cooling loop to be operational in August

After 53 years, Portland State’s heating and cooling loop, which regulates temperature in buildings across campus, is getting a $7 million upgrade.

After 53 years, Portland State’s heating and cooling loop, which regulates temperature in buildings across campus, is getting a $7 million upgrade.

The upgrade, slated to be completed this August, is designed to improve heating and cooling distribution, as well as extend it to buildings that have been without cooling, such as Shattuck Hall, said Mark Fuji, the project manager for PSU’s facilities and planning department.

“A big reason was to allow cooling in Shattuck Hall, since it never had it before,” Fuji said.

Shattuck Hall, which re-opened last term after being closed for renovations, has been completely re-outfitted with a ceiling-mounted radiant heat system, Fuji said.

A radiant heat system supplies heat to the floor, ceiling and wall paneling of a building.

The installation of the cooling system in the hall will be completed by May, Fuji said.

The new cooling and heating system will also help keep the Smith Memorial Student Union building cooler during the summer, Fuji said, as the existing cooling system has had difficulty meeting the necessary capacity to adequately cool the building on hot days.

You may have seen the fenced-off area between Smith Memorial Student Union and Cramer Hall. But what exactly will the heating and cooling loop provide the students of PSU? The Vanguard has facts and answers.
-Improved cooling for Smith Memorial Student Union during summer months
-Air condition in Shattuck Hall for the first time
-Identification of energy conservation measures
-Compliance with LEED certification requirements in university buildings
-New utility tunnel to distribute steam and chilled water to east side of campus for the first time
-New equipment replacing current system that dates back to 1956   
-Project cost: $7 million
-Estimated completion date: August 2009   

The existing heating and cooling system has equipment dating back to 1956, Fuji said. The upgraded equipment will include greener, more environmentally friendly chillers for cooling, he noted.

The project will also have a new HVAC unit, or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning unit, that allows buildings to meet LEED certification, a nationally used system rating buildings on their level of sustainability, Fuji said.

Other new equipment will include a 750-ton chiller, installation of seismic safety shut-off valves and enhanced piping.

Heating and cooling are distributed to campus buildings through a series of underground tunnels after being generated in two central campus locations, Fuji said. The current tunnel system connects to about one half of campus buildings.

Fuji also said that when work began on the project, the university put together a new steam and chilled water master plan, which included construction of new tunnels for distributing heating and cooling.

“A new utility tunnel was constructed cross Sixth Ave. prior to the installation of light rail tracks [for the new MAX green line],” Fuji said.

The new tunnel will bring steam and chilled water to the east side of campus for the first time, he said. The project’s $7-million price tag includes all construction, consulting and equipment fees.