ASHRAE Illinois Honors Zoetis, U of I Projects


The winning projects resulted in significant energy savings, lower operating costs, and a positive environmental impact.

Zoetis, the world’s largest animal pharmaceuticals firm, was created as an independent company through a 2013 spinoff of a Pfizer division. A Pfizer facility in Kalamazoo, MI, became a key manufacturing site for Zoetis. The site has since undergone critical upgrades to support Zoetis’ current and future goals.

A G/BA study in 2015 helped the client identify a new chilled water plant as a priority project, required to allow development of a new oral solid dosage manufacturing line and other planned operations. After analyzing four potential design options, the client and engineering team selected premium-efficiency, water-cooled, magnetic-bearing centrifugal chillers in a stand-alone plant as the best choice. The new, single-story, 7,500-square-foot steel-framed building also holds a new process compressed air plant. The project included new cooling towers, pumps, and dedicated switchgear.

The improvements consolidated two separate chilled water systems into a single system with centralized control. Aging chillers that used outdated refrigerant (R-22) were eliminated, adding to the environmental benefit. Projected savings in electricity vs. baseline are predicted to be 30%, with maintenance cost savings estimated at 40% a year. Consumers Energy, the local electrical and gas utility, awarded the project an incentive of $78,000. G/BA’s team for the project included Tim Jendrycki (Project Manager and lead mechanical engineer); design engineers Jim Seymour and Inna Gorelik;  and Dan Doyle (Principal-in-Charge).

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Frederick Seitz Materials Laboratory, a building providing about 50,000 square feet of lab space, was the subject of a phased HVAC renovation, performed after a feasibility study of five engineering facilities. Five major air-handling units were replaced with two central dual-path (outside and return air), low-velocity AHUs. Sixty lab exhaust fans were replaced with three high-plume fans with heat pipe energy recovery. Air distribution was changed from high-velocity, dual-duct air terminal to low-velocity displacement ventilation, variable-air-volume systems. New AHUs were installed outside the existing penthouse and brought on line in phases to allow continuous use of the building.

The project also included a cleanroom renovation that created a 4,000-square-foot ISO 7 lab for student development and manufacturing of silicon wafer integrated circuit boards.

The HVAC upgrades will save the university nearly $420,000 annually in energy and water costs, a reduction of about 27% from the baseline.

G/BA staff for the project included Mike McDermott (Project Manager and lead mechanical engineer); design engineers Joel Freeman, David Nelson, Eric Huber, William Wylie, and Jeff Cochran; and Chad Luning (Principal-in-Charge). The work was delivered as an Energy Performance Contract by Energy Systems Group, which was a co-applicant for the ASHRAE award.

The honors were presented on Dec. 4 at the ASHRAE Illinois Chapter’s winter party, held at the Metropolitan Club in Chicago’s Willis Tower. Matthew Janicke, Matthew Grimm, Michael Adams, and Mark Callahan joined the celebration on behalf of Zoetis. Mario Zotta and Kitty Knauz represented Energy Systems Group.

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