Ascension Alexian Brothers

Elk Grove Village, IL

Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Cooling Tower


This GBA infrastructure design project included construction of a new chiller plant, replacement of the hospital’s 43-year-old boiler plant, and two new 2,000-kW emergency generators to provide additional capacity to accommodate a major facility expansion. The project also improved redundancy and system performance while reducing energy and operating costs at the 329-bed medical center, consisting of more than half a million square feet.

Central Plant Expansion and Upgrade, Engineering Design

The central plant was expanded to accommodate the installation of three new centrifugal chillers (two with variable frequency drives), and relocation of one existing 1,000-ton centrifugal chiller. Total plant capacity expanded from 2,330 tons to 4,250 tons. A separate structure was built for the new six-cell cooling tower.

Features of the project included:

  • Chillers pre-purchased on the basis of lowest life cycle cost.
  • New chilled condenser water pumps with premium-efficiency motors and VFDs.
  • New two-way valves replacing existing three-way chilled water valves.
  • Distribution system converted from constant to variable-primary flow to improve performance and reduce operating costs and energy usage.
  • Three new 700-bhp high-pressure steam fire-tube boilers.
  • Dual-fuel, low-turndown (10:1), low-NOx burners with oxygen trim control and VFDs.
  • New water treatment systems, including reverse osmosis for make-up water treatment, automatic surface blowdown control (based on total dissolved solids), and blowdown heat recovery (to heat make-up water).
  • New deaerator, condensate receiver, feed water, and transfer pumps with premium-efficiency motors.
  • Fully automated plant tied to campus EMS.
  • New chilled/condenser water distribution (mixture of direct burial and new tunnels).
  • Two new 2,000-kW emergency generators.

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