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NEWS | Feb. 2, 2010

Chilled-water storage tank planned for site of demolished housing facility

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

A chilled-water storage tank that is part of a nearly $13 million energy-saving initiative at Randolph will soon rise from the rubble of a former temporary housing facility at Fourth Street East and C Street East.

The tank, known as a thermal energy storage, or TES, unit, will store water refrigerated at the Bldg. 395 chiller across the street and distribute it to facilities in the vicinity via underground pipes that will be part of a four-and-a-half-mile loop.

Anthony Martinez, 902nd Mission Support Group Civil Engineer Division energy program manager, said the storage tank on the former site of Bldg. 381 will be the second of three TES units that will serve as the hubs for the chilled-water loop designed to meet the air-conditioning needs of much of Randolph's commercial sector.

He said the system of centralized water chillers, TES units and pipes will save the base an estimated 16 percent on its overall utility bill in three ways.

One way is by "saving money in demand costs during the summer months," Mr. Martinez said.

Water will be chilled at night - not during the daytime hours of peak energy usage - and stored in the TES tanks for pumping throughout the day.

The system will also save money by removing most buildings' individual chillers, eliminating the need to power them and to replace and maintain them.

"It will all snowball in terms of the type of savings we get," Mr. Martinez said. "We will still have maintenance costs associated with the water lines and pumping the water, but they will not be as high as the costs of maintaining individual chillers."

Part of the system is already operational. The Bldg. 991 chiller and TES unit on the south side of the base are serving Air Education and Training Command facilities. The eastern part of the loop, which is under construction, will run east from the Bldg. 991 chiller and TES unit along J Street, north along Fifth Street East to the Bldg. 395 chiller and the planned TES tank and south to the Taj Mahal.

The TES unit at Fourth Street East and C Street East should be finished next year; another TES tank will be constructed at the Bldg. 498 chiller plant sometime in 2012 to serve the western part of the base.

The project - funded by a combination of sources, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Energy Conservation Improvement Program - will also include the expansion of the Bldg. 395 and Bldg. 498 chillers.

Mr. Martinez called the project "a seamless method of reducing energy and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) costs without negatively impacting customers." He said payback should be achieved in eight years or less and benefits will start to accrue immediately.

"By the end of this year we will start seeing some of the benefits," he said. "By the end of the year all the construction will be done with the exception of the two new TES tanks."