Chilled Water

Chilled Water

Something like an '80s album cover - DANA Chill Water Crew. From left to right: Jude Galligan, Mitch McGovern, Dale Glover, Greg Anderson, Darron Ross

At your single family home, you likely have a big 3 x 3 ft. HVAC compressor resting along the side of your property.  Now, imagine you’re building 440 residences in the 360 condos each requiring its own compressor.  Where do you put them?  You don’t put them anywhere, usually.  Most large buildings use chillers and cooling towers that take up valuable downtown Austin real estate and incur significant capital cost and maintenance expenditures.  So, what’s a builder to do?

downtown chill water district connections

You tap into the City of Austin chilled water system designed to cool high rises efficiently.  An underground network of pipes that provide chilled water to meet the cooling needs of multiple buildings.  There are two chill water plants serving the downtown Austin district.  The first is located in the state parking garage at 3rd and Nueces.

Basement of downtown chill water plant #2

No doubt, you’ll recognize the second plant and its blue tile facade on the northeast corner of the City’s Harry Whittington’s(?) convention center parking garage at 5th @ Sabine.  Inside those walls is a 1,000,000 gallon tank filled with water and ice.  Glycol infused water runs through a winding system of tubes chilling the water that passes over it.  Below are photos from a tour provided to DANA last week.  We couldn’t get a photo of the ice room as there is no light, and what you can see looks like murky water.  My camera’s battery ran out before we got to the roof, hopefully someone else from the tour has a photo.  Thanks to Greg Anderson for organizing, and Austin Energy’s Darron Ross for guiding the tour.

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. Very cool, Jude. And good call on the ’80 album cover; if only we had the hair to pull it off…

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