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©2015 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 57, no. 2, February 2015

By Thomas H. (Tom) Durkin, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE; and Gary Heckman, Member ASHRAE

About the Authors
Thomas Durkin, P.E., is the principal mechanical engineer at Durkin & Villalta Partners Engineering in Indianapolis. Gary Heckman is the systems supervisor at Manchester University.


At Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., a synergistic approach to campus projects means that it now takes less energy to heat three buildings than it once took to heat one. The projects began after the university opened a new Science Center in 2003 and mothballed its late 1950s-era Holl-Kintner Hall (H-K), which was steam heated from campus mains and cooled with window units. With the new Science Center, Manchester began to decentralize campus heating, phasing out the old steam system.

A conventional 180°F (82°C) hot water heating plant was designed for the Science Center, and as with several other buildings on campus, the boilers ran during the summer for humidity control. The new Science Center was connected to the campus chilled water, which runs in the same tunnel as steam.

After the Science Center was completed, and after researching the benefits, the university decided that all future heating would be low-temperature (130°F [54°C] maximum) systems from condensing boilers. Several existing buildings were converted, and the Union was expanded and renovated, all with low-temperature designs. With the new Science Center and renovated Union, campus chilled water was at capacity.

In 2010, plans solidified for the rebirth of H-K as the Academic Center with classrooms, offices, a lecture hall, and an Admissions Welcome Center.

Conclusions Reached

  • There were multiple benefits to the synergistic approach:
  • Less energy to heat three buildings than it used to take to heat one;
  • Significant operating cost savings on purchased gas;
  • Accelerated the Cordier conversion from steam to low temperature hot water;
  • Saved capital cost when including the Cordier conversion;
  • Less mechanical space required in the Academic Center, resulting in more assignable space for academic functions;
  • Availability of chilled water 12 months of the year for any campus needs; and
  • Benefit of a single heating control system rather than three separate ones.
  • Two larger conclusions for a campus situation with shared heating and cooling systems are that the synergistic approach should be evaluated; and a heat recovery chiller will almost always be a wise investment.

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