Chilled Water Plant Design


Upcoming dates coming soon!

Take this course when it’s offered next!

Course Overview

This design-focused course will help you determine if chilled water is the right choice for your application, then walk you through each step of the design process. You'll improve your ability to select chiller types and refrigerants, choose piping and pumping configurations, solve cooling tower design issues, size your equipment, analyze costs, and more. Daily problem-solving workshops will help you practice what you learn.

Who Should Attend?

  • Design engineers
  • Plant engineers
  • Contractors
  • Owners
  • Manufacturers’ application engineers
  • Technical personnel responsible for planning, designing, or specifying chillers and related equipment

Course Outline


Course Agenda can be found here.

Day 1

Determining the Need for Chilled Water

  • Why Chilled Water & Chilled Water Options
  • Central Plant vs. Individual Units

Load Determination and Evaluation

  • Load Definition
  • Load Evaluation

Chiller Overview

  • Chiller Types
  • Refrigerant Circuit Overview
  • Compressor Types: Scroll, Screw, Centrifugal
  • Compressor Operation: Lift, Surge
  • Starter Types: Constant Speed, Variable Speed
  • Chiller Efficiency: Efficiency Standards, How Chiller Design Affects Efficiency
  • Chilled Water System: Variable Primary Flow, Heat Recovery, Free Cooling, Thermal Storage

Industry Trends

  • System Efficiency: ASHRAE, System Design
  • Harmonics & IEEE 519
  • Refrigerants Changes & Regulations
  • Electrification & Decarbonization
  • Inflation Reduction Act

Pump Basics

  • Hydraulics
  • Centrifugal Pump Fundamentals and Configurations
  • System Curves
  • Pump Curves
  • Pump and System Curve Interaction

Pumping Schemes

  • Condenser Water Pumping Schemes
  • Chilled Water Pumping Schemes

Class Problem Workshop

Day 2

Cooling Tower Basics

  • Principles of Operation & Components
  • Selection Parameters
  • Tower Types & Heat Transfer Surfaces
  • Capacity Control
  • Water Losses & Water Quality

More Cooling Tower Design Issues

  • Factors Influencing Performance: Location, Wind Direction, Noise Issues
  • Make-up Water Requirements
  • Free Cooling

Thermal Energy Storage

  • Chilled Water
  • Density-depressed Chilled Water
  • Ice Systems: Harvesting, Ice on Coil, etc.

Class Problem Review

System Design Issues

  • Delta Temperature
  • Supply and Return Temperatures
  • Effects of Supply Temps and Delta T
  • Other Chiller Issues

Plant Siting Issues

  • Building Construction & Aesthetics
  • Utility Infrastructure & Noise Issues
  • Modular Plants
  • Central Plant General Arrangements & Phasing

Class Problem Workshop

Day 3

Class Problem Review

Piping and Distribution Systems

  • Configuration Options & Sizing
  • Hydraulic Modeling & Gradients
  • Installation Options: Direct Buried, Shallow Trenches, Tunnels
  • End Users (Buildings, Etc.): Direct Connected, Indirect Heat Exchangers, Interface Options

Instrumentation and Controls

  • Control Valve Fundamentals
  • Pressure Independent Control Valves
  • Control Schemes and Optimization

Code and Certification Issues

  • Code Requirements & Machine Room Design
  • Energy Efficiency

Chilled Water System Costs

  • Capital Costs & Operation Costs


Jesse Cabrera

Jesse Cabrera, P.E., P.M.P., is a Principal Mechanical Engineer and Higher Education and Institutional Services Principal at Stanley Consultants, Inc. in Austin, Texas. He has 32 years of professional experience working with clients in various roles, including Project Manager, Project Principal, and Business Development Manager. Among his professional experiences are design of thermal utility, electric generating, and combined heating & power plants, as well as thermodynamic analyses, feasibility studies, and utility master planning. In his role as Principal for Higher Education & Institutional Services, he is responsible for understanding the needs of his clients and coordinating the efforts of Stanley Consultants' talented engineers to develop reliable, cost-effective solutions.

Mark Pfeifer

Mark Pfeifer, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, is a senior manager of Applications Engineering at SPX Cooling Tech, LLC in the Kansas City metro.  His evaporative cooling product career spans over 30 years in various roles including materials engineering, proposal management and applications engineering.  In his recent role he manages the Technical Services department providing technical support for sales representatives and customers.  Mark is currently secretary of ASHRAE’s Technical Committee for Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers (TC8.6) and a member of USGBC.  He has led numerous presentations to engineers, architects and contractors on the subject of cooling towers and their application to HVAC and Industrial projects.

Randy Schrecengost

Randy Schrecengost, PE, CEM, BEAP, CxA, Member ASHRAE is a senior project manager and principal mechanical engineer with Stanley Consultants, Inc. in Austin, Texas. He has 30+ years of experience in design and project and program management at all levels of engineering, energy consulting, and facilities engineering. He has experience from the perspective of both a consulting engineer and an owner's facility engineer, with emphasis on mechanical systems including work with large central plants and small building chilled water systems for both domestic and international clients. His projects have ranged from 300 tons to 130,000 tons in size.

John Sustar

John Sustar is the chiller commercialization execution leader at Trane, a global leader in HVAC solutions. He has over 15 years of experience in the HVAC industry, working in various roles such as an energy engineer/modeler, marketing engineer and chiller product support team leader. John is responsible for leading the commercialization product support team, which provides bid strategies, trainings, and technical support for HVAC projects involving chillers. He works closely with customers, sales teams, and engineering teams to ensure the successful delivery of high-quality and energy-efficient chillers. John holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of St Thomas (MN) and a master's degree in building systems engineering from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Outside of work, John enjoys playing music, trail running, mountain biking, and skiing with his wife and three kids.

Upcoming dates coming soon!

Take this course when it’s offered next!

Program Director

Joy Altwies

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