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P1 Group Replaces Chiller for Stowers Institute, Creating Energy Efficiency for Peak Summer Demand

P1 Construction Stowers Institute Pictured, left: New chiller demo; Pictured, right: Project Pipefitter Foreman Will Wall and Project Manager Jason Larsen.

With the rising costs of…well…everything, energy efficiency is critical for our P1 customers. One long-time customer called on P1 to make major changes to their cooling in time for peak summer demand.

P1 began a relationship with the Stowers Institute for Medical Research back in the 90s.

“P1 has a long standing relationship with Stowers, and we are fortunate to be one of their preferred contractors,” Project Manager Jason Larsen said.

“This goes back to the original build in the mid-90s when P1 teamed up with JE Dunn to build the campus.”

The sprawling medical research facility south of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO, was home to many projects for P1, handled primarily by former P1 Vice President Paul Smith, who handed the account over to Jason Larsen several years before he retired.

The largest Stowers project consisted of more than 30 miles of pipe and was worth more than $40 million. It also won an Outstanding Mechanical Installation Award from the Mechanical Contractors Association of Greater Kansas City.

But in order to maintain optimal efficiency, something a medical research facility is highly dependent upon, some things have to change.

P1 recently completed the Stowers Chiller 4 replacement, a new chiller retrofit, to help Stowers save money on energy.

P1 Construction Chiller Replacement

P1’s Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and Fabrication divisions played a role in the project, which consisted of a new 1600-ton magnetic-bearing Daikin chiller to replace the existing high-voltage chiller; four new pumps with Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs), 13 new isolation valves, and automation of the chiller plant for additional energy savings.

“The isolation valves allow the customer to isolate the chiller plant from campus, and isolate pumps for better maintenance,” Project Pipefitter Foreman Will Wall explained.

Jason notes the vast cooling equipment housed at Stowers, and how the new equipment greatly reduces electrical expenditure.

“Stowers has five chillers, three 750-ton units, one 450-ton unit, and the 1600-ton high voltage unit,” Jason said.

“The new chiller replaced the existing high voltage 4160 – 1600-ton chiller. Their electrical bill is based on a peak demand, and in the summer months they use the 1600 ton chiller,” he explained.

“When it came online, the electrical demand was high. The new dual compressor, mag-bearing chiller is much more efficient and doesn’t cause the electrical demand to spike as high.”

Jason and Will noted the largest hurdle was the one faced by so many these days: getting the needed equipment in a timely manner.

“The Customer wanted the new chiller on line by June to meet their peak cooling demands,” Jason said.

“We had a three-month delay on the chiller due to COVID spikes, and the suction diffusers were delayed for the same reason.”

To get around this, Jason says the team found a different manufacturer that could deliver materials in a more timely fashion.

The P1 VDC team modeled the lines to the chillers, which were fabricated in P1’s fabrication shop (pictured, below).

P1 Construction BIM Services

 “Along with the new chiller, Stowers has invested in making their whole chiller plant more efficient by automating it,” Jason said.

“They have installed new VFDs and controls to ensure they are utilizing the equipment in the most effective and energy-conserving way.”

As a result of P1’s long-standing relationship, the P1 Proactive Solutions team also won a service agreement for six chillers at Stowers.

P1 is proud to serve institutions like Stowers, providing single-source facility solutions where they are needed most.

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