Central Power Station Upgrade: Chilled Water Plant
University of Oregon
Eugene, OR

Construction Cost: $80 Million

Wood Harbinger’s design solution was twice as efficient as the previous chiller plant and reduced the overall carbon footprint of the campus by 7%.

U of O received a $900,000 initial rebate from the local utility

2011 ACEC Washington State Chapter Gold Award and National Recognition Award


Wood Harbinger and the University of Oregon have a history of successful project cooperation beginning with a multifaceted colossus of scope including upgrades and replacements of the Chilled Water Plant, the Steam Plant, and the Cogeneration and Electrical Distribution Systems.

A venture of this complexity and magnitude requires a clear vision and detailed, up-front direction to ensure a cohesive and efficient design approach.  At the outset, the project scopes and goals were nebulous and defined by only a few rigid parameters and broad expectations: a need for increased capacity and efficiency, strict sustainability mandates, space and phasing restraints, an expanding campus, and a long-term operation requirement for the systems to accommodate the University for the next 40 years.

Wood Harbinger, serving as Prime Consultant as well as MEP engineers, led the charge by first strengthening the design criteria through studies and investigations to clarify the University’s needs.  We also held a three-day design Charette with multiple project stakeholders, which yielded deep insight and solidified the project direction. With the support of all key personnel, we moved ahead with the design, employing bold decisions and breakthroughs in engineering awareness, and culminated by exceeding expectations for every goal put forth and realizing undeniable successes in efficiency, cost effectiveness, and long-term viability.  This is the kind of service we aim to provide, every single time.

Wood Harbinger provided a comprehensive systems approach for the University’s 12,000 ton Chilled Water Plant.  Instead of piecing the plant together “hodge-podge” style, we used pre-purchase specifications to define attributes critical for this plant in order to achieve optimal energy efficiency.  This approach required the manufacturer of the chiller equipment to team with a cooling tower manufacturer, demonstrate system efficiency, and manage power requirements between the systems.  A single central control system unifies all the major pieces of chiller plant equipment to monitor and control the adjustable settings of the equipment.  It takes into account the efficiencies and operational variations of the chillers, cooling tower equipment, and pumping systems to achieve the lowest energy consumption, while providing the appropriate cooling levels for the campus.

“The levels of efficiency being reached by the systems installed on the project are a tribute to the exceptional approach taken by [Wood Harbinger] during design in order to not only meet, but to exceed our expectations in regards to plant operation and performance.” – Darin C. Dehle, U of O Director of Capital Construction