From the Physical Plant Division of the University of Florida UNIVERSITY of
www.ppd ufL edu UF FLORIDA
We create and maintain facilities for the university community.
Chiller Plant Optimization Helps Cut UF
Gainesville is legendary for its summer and early fall heat waves
- rising temperatures cause electric bills to skyrocket with increased
air-conditioning costs. In an effort to slash rising energy costs, Physi-
cal Plant has begun a program to optimize its campus chiller plants
for peak efficiency.
"Last year, my budget (for chilled water) was eight million
dollars," said Maintenance Specialist Charlie Milford. "This cam-
pus has the largest demand for air conditioning of any university in
the southern United States."
Chilled water has long been established as the best way to
deliver air-conditioning in mass quantities to large buildings and
institutions. The University of Florida's system relies on chiller
plants and cooling towers to create chilled water. At each of the
eight plants on campus, water flows into chillers in a cooling loop,
and is cooled to 44 degrees Fahrenheit, using Freon. This chilled Charlie Milford checks a rack of sensors in the
water is then piped out to campus buildings for air handler units to Southeast chiller plant The sensors control fan
See CHILLERS Cont. On Page 3 speed in the plant's cooling towers.
Natural Disaster Preparation: Generator
Project At Gator Corner Dining
Hurricanes are a constant threat in Florida, and the past few years have seen several very tough storms come through the
Sunshine State. After witnessing the destruction caused by those hurricanes, as well as the massive devastation in the Gulf Coast
region left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, UF Director of Building Services James Morgan had seen enough to convince him
that additional preparations were needed in the event of another major natural disaster.
"After Katrina caused so much damage, Louisiana State University was called upon to use their facilities to support evacu-
ees from New Orleans and the surrounding areas," said Morgan. If \ c had an extended loss of power, the University of Florida
doesn't have any dining facilities that can sustain operations for longer than a few days. We would have a hard time supporting
police or National Guard troops, let alone our students or refugees from disaster areas. I began looking at ways that we could
ensure that our largest dining facility, Gator Comer, could be kept operational even with major power outages at the University."
To that end, Morgan got approval from Vice President of Finance and Administration Ed Poppell to contact Physical Plant
about the possibility of installing a generator at Gator Comer. He wanted a unit that could power the entire facility, at a reason-
able cost. In addition, the unit had to be reliable enough to work after long periods of inactivity, and blend in aesthetically with
the building's exterior. "My hope was that we should be able to feed people in a comfortable, air-conditioned environment," said
Morgan. "If Gator Comer were used as a shelter for refugees, I wanted to be able to provide them with some semblance of
normality and comfort."
PPD Project Manager Mike Richarme said, "I was called in to discuss the project because of my background in electrical
See GENERATOR Cont. On Page 3
VOLUME XXII, No. 3
PPD Motor Pool Introduces Alternative Fuel
From mid-May through the end of June this year, Physical Plant's Motor Pool Department has been conducting a trial of the
alternative fuel bio-diesel. The fuel has been used in a pair of vehicles used by PPD Grounds a 2000 Dodge fullsize pickup
truck, and a John Deere industrial riding lawnmower.
.- "The fuel we have been using is manufactured from veg-
etable oil," explained Auto/Equipment Maintenance Super-
intendent Jon Priest. "There are a lot of different types of
vegetable ingredients in it I think the best way for me to
describe it is as waste fry oil, from restaurants and fast food
SThe vegetable-derived alternative fuel is a much cleaner-
burning fuel than traditional fossil fuels. "We've all seen the
black clouds of smoke from 18-wheel trucks accelerating,"
says Priest. "Those clouds are particle emissions from the
fuel burning. With bio-diesel, you get a hugely reduced amount
of particle emissions and a lot less waste being introduced
into the atmosphere."
Neither vehicle required special modifications to their
engines in order to run on the alternative fuel. Although bio-
Paul Dennis refuels his bio-diesel-powered Dodge diesel is rated to produce slightly lower performance stan-
truck from a special tank at Physical Plant's Motor dards than regular diesel fuel, Priest says that the miles per
Pool. gallon are almost exactly the same. And according to vehicle
operators participating in the study, the difference in power is
"It really surprised me," said Assistant Lands/Grounds Superintendent Paul Dennis, who operates the Dodge pickup. "I was
expecting there to be some kind of drop-off in performance when I stepped on the gas. But from what I've experienced, this stuff
runs as well or better than regular old diesel fuel."
With such positive results coming back from the trial period, PPD Motor Pool plans to start using a 20/80% blend of bio-
diesel and regular diesel fuel for all diesel-powered vehicles on campus. Although the selected vehicles ran on 100% bio-diesel
during the trial period, that's not currently feasible in the long-term, according to Jon Priest.
"At the moment, there are disclaimers from the major diesel engine manufacturers that while their engines will run onbio-
diesel, they do not recommend using more than 20% of alternative fuel in the mixture," he explained. "Using a higher percentage
will invalidate our warranties on these engines, and that's a risk we don't want to take right now. However, even using the 20%
blend will severely reduce emissions from diesel-burning vehicles on campus, and as the technology behind bio-diesel improves,
we can work towards using higher percentages in our fuel mix."
Priest concluded, "Overall, this trial has been flawless we've had no issues or complaints from our operators, and the
vehicles have been running perfectly. I'm very pleased with the results, and we look forward to increasing campus sustainability
and air quality, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels by using the bio-diesel mixture."
However, Paul Dennis did admit that the alternative fuel has one small flaw. "Every time I step on the accelerator, it smells
like I'm cooking French fries back there," he said. "Bio-diesel is a great alternative to regular diesel, but it definitely does get
your stomach rumbling all the time!"
Physical Plant To Hold Open House
Physical Plant Division is planning to hold an Open House event in mid-October, 2006. The
event will give our customers and campus personnel a chance to get an up-close, detailed view
of our facilities, employees and processes.
Events being considered as part of the Open House include walkthroughs of PPD's CoGen and
Wastewater Plants, presentations on PPD services, and tours of the Health Center and other
If you would like to attend Physical Plant's Open House, please send an email to
PPDOpenHouse@admin.ufl.edu with your name and college or department. This will register
you for the event. For more information, you may also visit www.ppd.ufl.edu.
1 Director: Dave O'Brien
GENERATOR Cont. From Pg. 1
engineering I've been in the business since 1979, so I have quite a bit of experience. After consulting with Mr. Morgan, I
decided that the best course of action would be to install a 600 kilowatt generator."
The generator is being installed along the east side of Gator Corer, on a specially-built concrete pad. Richarme said, "This
unit will be able to run every electrical system inside the facility in the event of a major loss of power. Hurricane Katrina has
alerted people to the fact that disaster planning is important, and Mr. Morgan stepped up to the plate and got the ball rolling on
a plan for UF and its dining facilities."
James Morgan added, "I wanted to be prepared to be able to lend our support in times of need, not just to the university, but
to the community as a whole, and even beyond that to refugees from all across North and West Florida. It is probably a long shot
that we would experience Katrina-level devastation here in Gainesville, but the possibility is much more real for many of our
neighbors, and I feel we are ready to handle that possibility. We may never use this generator, but if the occasion ever arises I
think we will be extremely thankful that we have it in place."
CHILLERS Cont. From Pg. 1
A separate water loop flows into the chillers at 80 degrees, and receives the collected heat discharge from the cooling loop.
The heated water, now around 90 degrees, is then pumped outside the building and up into the cooling towers. The towers are
filled with ceramic tiles as the heated water flows over the tiles, fans blow air across it and cool it back down to 80 degrees. The
water can then flow back through the chiller for another load of heat and the process begins all over again.
"Campus wide, we have more than 40,000 tons of chilled water capacity," said Senior Engineer Gray Rawls. "A typical
chiller in our plants is anywhere between 1200-1700 tons capacity. What we're trying to do is to continue to strive to create better
efficiency in our plants, through software upgrades, automation, and more efficient equipment. We feel that our chiller plants
operate at a very high level of efficiency already but by automating our processes even more, we can squeeze that last extra 10-
15% of efficiency out of them."
Milford said, E c3 thing \ %c're doing is working towards being
as energy efficient as possible. Last year, we got all our chiller plants
online centrally, where operators in each plant can check processes at
the other plants by remote computer. Currently, we're testing software
at our Southeast chiller plant that allows all our processes to be auto-
mated and run by computer it checks the conditions multiple times
every hour and adjusts settings accordingly to maximize efficiency.
The computer can bring chillers online and offline as needed to handle
increased or decreased demand for A/C on campus. Also, recently we
upgraded the fans in the towers at the Southeast plant to variable speed
drives, from the old two-speed drives this allows the computer to run
the fans at any speed and minimize the amps they're pulling."
As PPD's newest chiller plant, the Southeast plant was chosen to
test the automated software and new fans. "This plant was built in The Southeast chiller plant's cooling towers
'97," said Utilities Superintendent Johnny Miller, "and it has four 1200- have been fitted with variable speed fans to
ton chillers. The computer program we're running here is able to pro- help save energy.
cess and use a lot more information when making adjustments to the
chiller loads than a human operator. We're already seeing a difference in operation. For example, during times when there's less
demand for A/C, a plant operator would probably run three of the chillers at 100% and keep one of them idle to save energy. The
computer, on the other hand, looks at the same situation and runs all four chillers at, say, 87% it processes all variables in real-
time and figures the optimum load on each chiller in order to conserve the most energy and run as efficiently as possible."
At PPD's Heat Plant II, off Mowry Drive, Senior HVAC Operator John Clark works in a control room, checking monitors
and recording data. "I can monitor all our plants every hour from this control room, and log the chiller loads and fan speed," he
says. "We can use that data to find out our peak load times and tweak our systems accordingly."
"We're also using the data we gather at the Southeast plant to check this year's energy consumption levels with last year's,"
Miller said. "So far, everything looks good. The new fans and software are producing more efficient loads on the chillers. Once
the test period at the Southeast plant is done, we'll begin installing these equipment upgrades in our other plants, beginning with
the Weil and Walker plants."
"We'll always need human operators at our plants," Charlie Milford added. "The computer can't go out on-site and check for
leaks or make sure the water pressure is correct. But with our new systems and new equipment, we can optimize our processes
and squeeze every last bit of efficiency out of our chilled water system."
Editor: Jeremiah AMcinnis
U F |UNIVERSITY of
Physical Plant Division
Human Resources Department
PO Box 117700
Gainesville, FL 32611-7700
PPD Works With Football Team And Fraternities
For Tree-Planting Event
UF PPD recently teamed up with the Florida Gators football team and the InterFraternity Council in a campus-wide tree
planting effort in April 2006. The event was the second of its kind in two years, following a similar effort last year.
This promises to be an annual tradition at UF following the Orange
and Blue spring football game. Fred Gratto, Assistant Director at UF Physi-
cal Plant Grounds Department, said, "(Head Football Coach) Urban Meyer
puts a very big emphasis on building relationships between the football
team and UF students, as well as the local community in general, and this
was an idea he had come up with along those lines. The plan was to have
the losing team from the Orange and Blue game team up with students and
PPD employees for a campus beautification project."
Physical Plant provided the trees and scouted out planting locations
for the project, as well as over-
"i- seeing and assisting with the
.l actual planting. Gratto said
that the final locations, such -
as the parking lots around the -
College of Law, the parking .
garages at Shands Hospital, .
and the east side of the UF ,
Soccer Field, were chosen
mainly for aesthetic reasons.
Over 325 trees in all were
planted, including such spe- UF head football coach Urban Meyer (left)
cies as American hollies, Japa- and UF defensive back Reggie Nelson
nese maples, live oaks, river planting trees near the Levin College of
Fraternity members Trey Bice birch, and crape myrtles. The Law.
S working trees were selected from the
(left) and Jack Sampsofn PPD nursery off Radio Road, where they had been grown to planting maturity from
on the north side of the softball
stadi "The idea here was to do something substantial, something that will stand the test
of time," said Gratto. "There's always a need for trees on campus, and now, when these students come back to the University
in twenty years, they can point to these trees and say, 'I helped plant those, many years ago'."