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?
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.
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.