Zoetis, Chiller Plant

Kalamazoo, MI

Zoetis, mechanical room


GBA provided facility studies followed by MEP/FP engineering design for a stand-alone chiller plant supporting a pharmaceutical manufacturing site in Michigan. Collaborating firm Ingenii provided architectural and structural design services.


ASHRAE Illinois, Excellence in Engineering Award, 2018

ASHRAE Region VI, Technology Award, First Place (Industrial Facilities), 2019

New Chiller Plant, Design

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.

  • GBA performed an analysis in 2015 to help the client prioritize improvements. A new chilled water plant was selected as the priority project, needed to allow development of a new oral solid dosage (OSD) manufacturing line as well as additional planned production and packaging operations. Aging chillers that used outdated refrigerant (R-22) needed to be replaced with more modern units.
  • The firm analyzed four design options for the client, including air-cooled chillers; constant-speed water-cooled centrifugal chillers; variable-speed water-cooled centrifugal chillers; and premium-efficiency variable-speed water-cooled centrifugal chillers. GBA also considered the pros and cons of putting the new chillers and pumps inside an existing facility, or building a new stand-alone plant.
  • The premium-efficiency option with magnetic bearing centrifugal chillers in a stand-alone plant was ultimately selected for its life cycle benefits and its ability to maximize existing production space.
  • A single-story, 7,500-square-foot, steel-framed building now houses the new chilled water plant with three water-cooled chillers plus room for a fourth future chiller. New cooling towers were installed adjacent to the building, which also holds water-distribution pumps, dedicated switchgear, and a new process compressed air plant. Chilled water system piping was interconnected to existing distribution, which was converted from primary/secondary to variable primary.
  • The scope also included heating and ventilation for the building and its interior control room, and a restroom.
  • Site electrical distribution was upgraded to 15kV to accommodate expected production upgrades.

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