Central Chilling Station & Hot Water Plant

Client: University of Texas at Austin
Completion Date: 2016
Location: Austin, Texas


The University of Texas at Austin, through its capital improvement program, hired Burns & McDonnell for design, commissioning and construction services to expand its facilities for a new medical school district. We teamed with Flintco Construction to provide integrated design-build services. This project, under the direction of the Utilities and Energy Management (UEM) Department, involves new buildings, facilities and equipment to produce chilled and hot water from central facilities.

The chilled water expansion includes design and construction of a new 15,000 ton central chilling station 7 (Chilling Station 7, or CS7), a field‐erected cooling tower at grade, and a 5.5 million gallon thermal energy storage tank (TES tank 2), which can offset 5 MW of peak electrical use. 

Within CS7, a new hot water generation facility uses gas‐fired hot water boilers. Burns & McDonnell evaluated the alternative feasibility of installing a heat pump chiller in CS7 to generate hot water and chilled water simultaneously. The evaluation included all design and life cycle cost considerations, including potential increases in distribution piping size and the impact on operability, reliability, resiliency and redundancy.

A new hot water generation facility (Hot Water Plant 1, or HWP 1) will provide steam to hot water generators for backup capacity and geographic diversity to the new heating loop. 

Facility design was carefully coordinated and had to interface exactly with Office of Facilities Planning & Construction (OFPC)-managed projects for piping and other utility distribution infrastructure. The plant, once constructed, will be integrated into UT’s existing 48,000 ton chilled water system, which includes four central plants and a 4 MG thermal energy storage tank.


  • Design
  • Commissioning
  • Construction


Technologies Evaluated

  • Series counter-flow chillers
  • Thermal energy storage (TES)
  • Heat pump chiller
  • Boiler alternatives 

Generation Capacities

  • 15,000 tons cooling (phase I)
  • 20,000 tons (ultimate)
  • 52,000 T-hour TES
  • 87,500,000 BTU/H heating (phase I)
  • 130,000,000 BTU/H (ultimate)

Unique Characteristics

  • Prominent location on campus
  • Serves trauma center and medical school
  • Ability to shift entire plant electrical load via TES tank
  • Cross connections to main campus utility network
  • Redundancy in equipment and distribution systems

Send Us a Note

Tim Burkhalter Business Development Manager 816-349-6660
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