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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Michael Twedt


The research done in this document contains a detailed analysis of the potential benefits of utilizing a centralized chiller plant over local cooling systems to cool facilities in a university setting, specifically for three facilities currently operating with local cooling systems. The goal of this research is to provide support for SDSU’s master plan of moving towards campus-wide central cooling. It also provides a basis for future analysis of other facilities to determine the savings and payback associated with connecting the buildings to the central chiller plants. The scope of the project covers the North Chiller Plant project, a multi-million dollar project that consists of building a new chiller plant on the north end of campus to provide central cooling for a large portion of the SDSU campus. The primary focus of this project is to connect the three animal research facilities. This research covers an analysis of the existing building cooling requirements to develop an energy model. It also compares local and central cooling options to determine the best option for SDSU which includes comparisons between energy consumption, peak load demand, greenhouse gas emissions, and costs, cost savings, and simple payback. The Animal Science Complex, Animal Disease Research, and the Animal Resource Wing each utilize air-cooled chillers for their local cooling systems that are all under-sized and at the end of their useful life. New air-cooled chillers of the proper capacity were used for the local system replacement analysis. The North Chiller Plant will utilize watercooled centrifugal chillers. When installed at a central plant with intricate controls, water-cooled chillers can operate at very high efficiencies. The analysis showed a reduction in energy consumption of 40.7% while reducing peak electric load demand by 40.3%. Greenhouse gas emissions, which are directly correlated to the energy consumption of the systems, will also decrease by 40.7%. Based on project cost estimates as well as the savings associated with operating the North Chiller Plant over local cooling systems, the payback to switch the animal research facilities from local to central cooling has a payback of 12.1 years. The results of this research show the benefits of moving towards central cooling at South Dakota State University based on the current North Chiller Plant project that is connecting the three animal research facilities to central cooling.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

South Dakota State University -- Buildings -- Energy conservation Cooling systems Cooling towers Air conditioning -- Efficiency Buildings -- Environmental engineering


Includes bibliographical references (pages 132-133)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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