University of Houston Central Plant
The addition and renovation of the University of Houston (UH) Main Campus Central Plant provides additional chilled water capacity to serve the needs of several UH projects to be constructed or planned in the near future.
The addition adds three new 2,500-ton chillers to the existing system, and the four existing cooling towers were replaced with four new 5,000-ton ceramic cooling towers. A new 5,000-ton cooling tower was also added to accommodate the new chiller capacity. The addition includes 3,000 square feet of much needed administrative office space powered by rooftop photovoltaics, furthering the university’s sustainable agenda.
PGAL and the university chose to use the facility as a learning tool rather than trying to hide the facility. With the central plant located in a prominent position on campus directly adjacent to the main library and along a new planned pedestrian plaza, the team designed the new addition as an aluminum and glass box to allow for the complete transparency of the inner workings of the central plant. The new cooling towers are designed as concrete structures with masonry exterior to blend with the building standards for all new structures. The transparent open sides of the cooling tower create a “rain effect” with falling water that can be seen and heard by passersby.
- Three new 2,500-ton chillers
- 3,000 square feet of administrative office space
- Rooftop photovoltaics providing power to the administrative space