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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Chilled Water Plant Design See upcoming dates

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.

Determining the Need for Chilled Water & Load Determination

  • Many choices in system type
  • Comparison of system types
  • Advantages of chilled water system
  • Advantages of central plant
  • Chilled water options
  • Load definition and evaluation

Chiller Basics

  • Chiller types
  • Compressors; evaporators; condensers; drive types
  • Refrigerant cycle
  • Starter types; constant and variable speed
  • Chiller efficiency
  • Chilled and condenser water flow rates
  • Heat recovery chillers
  • Refrigerants

Related Chiller Topics

  • Steam turbine drives
  • Factory and field erected units
  • Industrial and commercial design
  • Absorption and adsorption chillers
  • Chiller prime movers

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

  • Load definition
  • Central plant sizing
  • Plant prime movers and capacity

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

  • Noise issues
  • Other factors influencing performance
  • Location; wind direction
  • Free cooling
  • Make-up water requirements
  • Free cooling systems
  • Cold weather operation

Thermal Energy Storage

  • Chilled water
  • Density-depressed chilled water
  • Ice harvesting
  • Ice on coil; encapsulated ice; ice slurries

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

  • Select plant location(s)
  • Total plant capacity
  • Select pumping scheme
  • Cooling tower location

Class Problem Review

Distribution Systems

  • Configuration options
  • Sizing
  • Hydraulic modeling & gradient
  • Installation options: direct buried, shallow trenches, tunnels
  • End users (buildings, etc.): direct connected, indirect heat exchangers, interface options


  • Control valve fundamentals
  • Pressure independent control valves
  • Control schemes and optimization

Code and Certification Issues

  • Code requirements
  • Machine room design
  • Energy efficiency
  • LEED


  • Capital costs
  • Operation costs


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.

Esti Tierney

Esti Tierney currently serves as a Marketing Engineer for the Centrifugal Product Support Team at Trane.  She attended Colorado State University as an undergraduate and later obtained her MBA from UW-La Crosse. Esti has spent fifteen years in the chiller industry, previously working for Multistack as the Sales Support Manager of their Inside Sales and Applications group for the last five years.  She has worked with many Trane Sales Engineers over the years and looks forward to working with some familiar names as she helps support the field in her new role. She is particularly interested in the energy efficiency movement within the HVAC industry and is excited about Trane’s involvement with sustainability and the commitment to carbon reduction. 

Esti lives in Onalaska, Wisconsin with her husband, Mark, and two children. She enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors. Esti is also active in the community, currently serving on the board for GROW La Crosse, an organization focused on children and families’ connections to healthy food and sitting on the Advisory Board for the Western Technical College’s Sales Management program.

Upcoming dates