University of Rochester
Refrigerant/chiller upgrades deliver performance & sustainability at University of Rochester
The University of Rochester Central Utilities plant provides steam, chilled water, hot water and electricity to the university’s River Campus and Medical Center. The facility’s main chilled water plant contains five water-cooled chillers with a total cooling capacity of 21,000 tons, including four Carrier chillers. The facility also includes steam turbines that can generate up to 25 megawatts of electricity. In accordance with campus sustainability goals, the University of Rochester wanted to modernize two older chillers that contained R-12 refrigerant. R-12 is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-based refrigerant that is subject to a global phase-out due to its ozone-destroying qualities. Steve Mischissin, Director of Utilities and Energy Management, collaborated with Carrier on the refrigerant upgrade and equipment improvements to enhance chiller efficiency as well as remove and destroy the R-12 refrigerant.
The University of Rochester worked with Carrier and EOS Climate, Inc. — a company that specializes in safe and environmentally correct management of refrigerants — to remove and destroy 12,788 pounds of R-12 refrigerant from the first chiller, and 10,847 pounds from the second. Subsequently, Carrier provided a full refurbishment and complete rerate of the chillers and their steam turbine drives; new digital controls; a heat exchanger re-tube; division plate modification; nozzle relocation and new valves. The chillers were then charged with R-134a, a refrigerant that causes no ozone depletion with over 7.5 times less global warming potential than R-12. The safe destruction of R-12 prevented greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 103,650 metric tons of CO2, equal to taking more than 21,000 cars off the road for a year. Carrier worked with EOS to use these verified emission reductions (“carbon offsets”) to reduce the cost of the project. While the project benefited from an environmental aspect, the destruction program included a financial payment for the refrigerant, which helped the project’s financial return.