Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast New Central Energy Plant
Integrated Delivery of Complex Infrastructure Expansion
FreemanWhite teamed with Rodgers to deliver the new central plant under an integrated approach that realized significant schedule, quality, and cost benefits. The collaborative approach to the complicated logistical challenge of tying into the existing hot water system delivered a solution that avoided shutting down the existing system and reduced the cost associated with the installation.
The existing Central Energy Plant housed the hospital’s chillers and boilers, which serve the hospital through a 1200-foot underground tunnel that is the life blood of the facility. If the utilities in the tunnel go down, the hospital loses cooling and/or heating. The design of the new Central Energy Plant required a tie into both the chilled water mains and the steam main.
Since the long-range goal is to replace the existing plant, our new plant was designed with the same 24-inch chilled water mains; the original design called for the existing plant to have a scheduled shut down to allow tie-in of the new 24-inch lines into the existing 24-inch lines. Due to the placement of the isolation valves, this would have required draining most of the chilled water just to make the new connections. We estimated the work would require a 24-hour shut down of the system. To solve this issue, we contacted a company that could hot tap the existing 24-inch mains with the new 24-inch taps with valves, without having to shut down the existing chilled water system. Not only were we able to avert shutting down the existing chilled water system, but we were able to reduce the cost associated with the installation. Preplanning and teamwork averted a potentially costly shut down.
During construction, a 12” high pressure inline steam expansion joint located in the tunnel was damaged, and there was concern that the damaged inline expansion compensator could fail. This not only presented a dangerous situation in the tunnel but would have resulted in the hospital losing steam and heating. Since the steam compensator was originally installed in 1991, we contacted the original manufacturer who still had shop drawings on the original design. We had the manufacturer build and deliver a new compensator within one week. It was important that the new compensator match because of the limited space available to install the new device once the existing device was removed. Through coordination with the hospital, the team decided to shut down the system on a Saturday morning. We scheduled a 10-12 hour shutdown in mid-December. The boilers were shut down at 5:30 AM, and we had steam back on by 3:00 PM. Through teamwork and planning, we were able to have the system back up and running ahead of schedule.