Chiller Upgrade Yields Cool Savings

Oct. 2, 2009

With failing and inefficient cooling towers, and historical operating practices, this hotel engineered, specified, and selected three new cooling towers


Host Hotels & Resorts - Orlando World Center Marriott

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Hotel guests and meeting participants expect impeccable service and comfort from their hotel experiences. In a bid to ensure such comfort and attain greater energy efficiency, a team for the 28-story Host Hotels & Resorts - Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, FL, renovated the chiller plant.

Jeffrey Plutz, the property’s director of engineering and resort facilities, says the upgrade addressed several difficulties: “We had aging equipment, as well as humidity and start-up problems, and we anticipated that major things would start going wrong.”

The 22-year-old centrifugal chillers, in good condition, needed overhauling, but deteriorating cooling towers were undersized for the property’s 2,000 guestrooms and 400,000 square feet of meeting space.

Project Team (partial list)

HVAC Consultant (Award Submitter): Carrier Corp.
Owner: Host Hotels & Resorts

Plutz worked with Carrier Corp. to replace three cooling towers and renovate the existing chillers. The renovation included installing energy-saving variable speed drives and swapping the existing refrigerant for more environmentally friendly HFC-134a. “We also changed the oil to a synthetic product, which allows us fewer oil changes and less environmental impacts on disposal,” comments Plutz. Three new induced draft cooling tower with variable speed drives increased the plant’s cooling tonnage by 300 nominal tons.

In addition, the installation of Carrier Comfort Network controls and i-Vu, a Web-based integrated control system, allows Marriott staff to remotely monitor and control all aspects of the plant, and Carrier technicians to troubleshoot remotely.

Ensuring no service interruption during construction was especially challenging. “Timing and coordinating were everything,” recalls Plutz. “We took one cooling tower out at a time and got the new one online while still having an old one on as backup.”

The project saved $825,000 in annual energy cost savings last year. “We had an old battleship that we were able to make like new,” adds Plutz.

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