Cooling tank may save Utah State University money

Fences went up on Feb. 15 to mark off a portion of the HPER field where a new thermal energy storage tank (TES tank) is being built.Darrell Hart, associate vice president of Facilities, said the central cooling plant on campus is running out of the air conditioning capacity needed to satisfy all buildings, but this tank will help remedy the problem.”We either had to buy another chiller or construct this tank,” Hart said.He said USU’s air conditioning system currently runs on four chillers, but the central cooling plant only has room to add one more chiller.Ben Berrett, director of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, said “adding additional chillers doesn’t save money, this does.”Lorin Mortensen, mechanical engineer for USU Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, said the system could save the university around $100,000 per year in electricity costs.Berrett said, “That’s under current prices. Those savings could be larger if power rates go up.””It saves us money by reducing the amount we pay for electricity. We can run our chillers at night during the off-peak hours when energy costs are lower,” Mortensen said.”Typically, we run those chillers during the peak heat part of the day, which is also the time of peak energy cost,” Hart said. “Cold water storage will chill the water at night when energy costs are low.”Berrett said the tank is 30 feet tall, will hold 2 million gallons of water and will be completely buried under the HPER field by December of this year. He also said the field is expected to re-open at that time.Meanwhile, Facilities asks for students to have patience as construction continues on the north end of the field.

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