Feb. 2024
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U.S. Utilities Projects Account for Billions of Dollars in Opportunities

In the Western world, we've come to expect a certain level of comfort from the buildings and facilities in which we work and live. These comforts include regulated air temperatures and hot and cold water. Utility systems play a crucial role in maintaining comfortable and functional environments in buildings. Among the essential components of building utilities are boilers, chillers, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Industrial Info is tracking more than $4 billion worth of U.S. projects involving these building components. Most of the projects being tracked are occurring at universities, prisons and military bases.

One of the largest utilities-based projects is underway at the California State University System's campus in Fresno, California, which is being accomplished in three phases. Phase I involved the cooling tower. Four 75-horsepower cooling tower cells have been replaced, supporting increased capacity. The second and third phases kicked off shortly after Phase I, which began in 2022. Phase II includes a new thermal energy storage tank, the replacement of four boilers, and upgrading aging air handlers and duct work. Phase 3 replaces more chillers and boilers on the campus and includes upgrading the piping and distribution lines. All work is set to be wrapped up later this year. To learn more, subscribers to Industrial Info's Global Market Intelligence (GMI) Industrial Manufacturing Project Database can view the project reports for Phase I, Phase II and Phase III.

Similar projects at universities include the University of Virginia's plan to construct a new utilities plant at its Charlottesville campus' Fontaine Research Park to help support a new four-story, 350,000-square-foot research facility, construction of which started last year and is expected to be finished in 2026. The initial construction of the utilities plant will include 1,600 tons of cooling capacity and 17,500 thousand British thermal units per hour (MBH) of heating. The facility is being designed to support capacity growth as needed in the future. Work is expected to begin this summer, putting the utilities plant on track for completion as the university's new Paul and Diane Manning Institute of Biotechnology Center opens in mid-2026. Subscribers to Industrial Info's GMI Database can learn more by viewing the project reports on the new research building and the utilities plant addition.

While the California project represents the largest utilities project at a U.S. university, the largest such project at a military base is occurring in Utah. Last year, the Hill Air Force Base in Layton began replacing boilers at its steam plant. The first portion of the project, which is underway, includes replacing one 60,000-pound-per-hour (lb/hr) boiler and two 40,000-lb/hr boilers with two new 50,000-lb/hr boilers to increase the system's reliability. This portion of the project is expected to be completed in early 2025.

A second portion of the project is expected to begin in the near future. This portion involves removing two 70,000-lb/hr boilers and six 40,000-lb/hr boilers and, in their place, installing five new 50,000-lb/hr units. This project segment will be completed later in 2025. The new equipment being installed will be manufactured by Cleaver-Brooks (Thomasville, Georgia). Subscribers can learn more by viewing the related project reports.

Other planned utilities projects at military bases include a utilities building addition, planned to begin in late 2025 or early 2026, at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. A 19,800-square-foot structural building addition will house gas-fired steam boilers and three 500-ton centrifugal chillers with two 750-ton cooling towers. Subscribers can click here to learn more about the project.

Among the utilities at prisons is a new boiler facility and boiler replacement at the San Quentin State Prison in San Quintin, California. A prefabricated metal building will be constructed next to the existing utilities building that will house three new 1,200-ton boilers and a 500-kilowatt emergency generator. The project is expected to begin later this year and take about a year to complete. Subscribers can click here to learn more.

Subscribers to Industrial Info's GMI Database can click here to view reports for all of the projects discussed in this article and click here to view the related plant profiles.