chilled water

July 24, 2006 at 1:43 pm | | everyday science, news

The chilled water system at Stanford has been basically down for the last month and—now that the weather is getting ridiculously hot—we’re on the brink of the apocalypse. We can’t run our big lasers because they need to be cooled by the chilled water and the temperature in the offices and some of the labs it approaching hott with two “t”s. I mean, my office is in the basement and I’m sweating; the offices upstairs and in Mudd building are much warmer than outside (where the temperature is 90 F).

Thankfully, the most essential locations on campus (like the hospital) still get chilled water routed to them. Also, LINX, a for-profit cafeteria on the first floor of the BioX building, still is nice and cool. Thank god!

Check out this link for more cool (ha!) facts.


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  1. Below are some emails (note the name of the sender):
    July 22, 2006
    I’m sending this follow up message to you at Bob Reidy’s request. My
    original message from June 22 is included below for your reference.
    Here is an update on the situation since that last communication:
    Chilled Water capacity continues to be extremely limited. A temporary
    chilled water plant has been constructed on Roble Field to add nearly
    3000 additional tonshich has helped us avoid additional curtailment
    measures. Overnight, we took delivery of additional equipment and
    now have an additional 400 tons of cooling on line at that site. We
    have vendors searching for additional equipment throughout the
    country and will install more equipment as it becomes available.
    The recent heat wave has extended over multiple days without
    sufficient relief to rebuild our ice storage needed to meet peak
    campus demand. In order to save chilled water for hospital use and
    critical research processes, on Friday nearly 30 buildings were
    curtailed, or partially curtailed, where chilled water is used
    primarily for comfort cooling. In other buildings throughout the
    campus, temperatures in buildings have been set higher than
    The Central Energy plant chilled water project is not expected to be
    fully complete until the end of September. Some improvements are
    scheduled to be complete in early August, which will allow for
    increased chilled water capacity. However, recent long-range weather
    forecasts indicate that the summer and fall temperatures will be the
    hotter than previous years. This means we expect to have additional
    periods of curtailment throughout this time.
    We will do everything possible to minimize the impact to your
    programs that depend on chilled water. Facilities Operations Zone
    Management staff will continue to stay in regular communications with
    your building managers to address building concerns.
    We very much appreciate your help and cooperation during this crisis.
    Thank you.
    Chris Christofferson
    Associate Vice Provost for Facilities
    June 22, 2006
    I’m sending this message to you at Bob Reidy’s request.
    As you may be aware, the University has had a shortage of chilled water
    since the start of the heat wave last Friday, June 16th. We implemented a
    Chilled Water curtailment over Commencement weekend while being sensitive
    to Commencement-related activities. Chilled Water capacity remains
    extremely limited because of a continuing construction project in the
    Central Energy Facility.
    What we’ve done so far:
    In order to meet critical peak demands, chilled water temperatures have
    been slightly elevated throughout campus during the week, heating systems
    have been turned off, and comfort cooling has been reduced where possible
    to save chilled water for critical processes and hospital use. As a
    result of curtailing building preheating in the early morning hours,
    some areas may actually be colder than usual early in the morning and
    warmer in the afternoon.
    Next steps:
    We expect some relief from the hot weather this weekend and possibly next
    week. In the meantime, we have arranged for the installation of
    supplemental cooling in the form of a temporary chilled water plant
    on Roble Field. Our plan is to have an additional 1,000 tons of
    cooling in place by Monday morning, and an additional 2,000 tons in
    place by next Friday. As this additional cooling becomes available
    and temperatures stabilize, we will gradually phase out of the
    curtailment. We have a committment from the vendor that this
    equipment will remain in place as long as it is needed.
    In the meantime, Facility Operations Zone Management staff will stay
    in regular communications with your building managers, addressing
    their concerns as they arise and continuing to be sensitive to both
    research requirements and scheduled events in the buildings.
    Thank you for your patience and understanding.
    Chris Christofferson
    Associate Vice Provost for Facilities

    Comment by sam — July 24, 2006 #

  2. haha sucka. fayer lab has a private chiller. not too bad for our lasers yet…

    thanks mike!

    Comment by ilya — July 24, 2006 #

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