3M Pharmaceuticals contracted P2S for an evaluation of the utility capacity of its central plant. After performing a detailed study of the plant’s chilled water and electrical systems, P2S provided designs and plans for retrofitting and upgrading 3M’s existing chilled water central energy plant (CEP) and associated electrical systems. Our client’s goal was to increase the plant’s performance, energy efficiency and to improve the layout and access to the equipment. P2S provided mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering services including assessment of current and future utility capacity, pre-purchase specifications of long lead MEP equipment, construction documents and construction support services.
The 3M Northridge plant is a 26-acre pharmaceutical facility located in Northridge, California. It consists of over twelve buildings that operate 24 hours per day and 365-days per year. The existing 1,600-ton chilled water central plant’s cooling towers were not performing properly and the central plant did not have the capacity to meet the future building demands for the next five years. P2S had to schedule shutdowns for new chilled water-piping connections and manage the demolition of existing CEP equipment and the reconfiguring and replacement of electrical services. Plus, we had to coordinate with 3M’s production schedule to keep chilled water and electrical service continuity without business interruption.
P2S first performed a comprehensive site utility capacity study including a detailed study of the entire air handler’s chilled water and electrical capacities. The study determined that the capacity of the existing plant was insufficient and needed expansion. P2S then designed and provided construction documents for a retrofitted and upgraded 2,600-ton central cooling plant that would not only improve performance but provide significant energy savings, as well. The upgraded plant includes new cooling towers, new condenser water pumps and new chilled water pumps and a new 1,000-ton chiller with variable frequency drive.
The new central cooling plant also provides a redundant chiller and cooling tower, should one fail or require service. To further maximize chiller efficiency, the P2S mechanical design called for using this additional cooling tower basin to drive condenser water temperatures lower.
To reconfigure the CEP mechanical and electrical systems and equipment for improved service access and to plan construction phasing to keep it online, P2S performed extensive field surveys and coordinated with 3M engineers and service personnel regularly.
For overall control of the site wide chilled water system, P2S designed a customized direct digital control system. This included upgrading to programmable logic controllers (PLC) and connecting to a site-wide utility monitoring and energy management control system.
The new central plant saves 3M Pharmaceuticals a considerable amount in operating and maintenance costs—and will continue to do so over the next 20 years. Thanks to mechanical and electrical energy efficiency improvements, emissions have been reduced significantly and overall environmental impact is considerably less than before.
The project’s actual construction costs came within 1.6% of the original budget estimated by P2S & 3M. The success of this complex retrofit project can be attributed to the combined team effort between 3M Pharmaceuticals & P2S. According to the client on this project, P2S exceeded expectations in design quality, design support, construction support services, and customer support for the project and displayed their professionalism through the project. They are expressed that the integrity, honesty, commitment to good communication and responsiveness of P2S were excellent.