Olsson Associates

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Teamwork makes water cooling tank possible for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Linda Van Hoosen, Communications

Drawings by Sinclair Hille ArchitectsThe large, round structure at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) East Campus not only provides cooling capabilities to campus buildings, but also provides  a huge relief in  energy costs. The  2.9-million-gallon thermal energy storage (TES) tank supplies chilled water to East Campus buildings for several hours a day during the hottest parts of summer. UNL has hired a team of firms, including Olsson Associates, to build a much larger tank to supply chilled water to its City Campus buildings.



Olsson is the prime consultant for the second UNL TES tank, an $11.9 million project. Four other firms are also involved in the design and construction of the tank.

“Olsson offers the capabilities and all of the disciplines required to complete a project of this nature, but we chose to partner with others on this one,” said Ben Day, Olsson project manager. “Lutz, Daily & Brain designed the East Campus project. So, it only made sense to partner with them on this project. Their role is to design the pump station for the City Campus TES project.”

 The City Campus cooling tank will hold 8.1 million gallons of water. The insulated steel and aluminum structure will hold chilled water in reserve for use to offset electrical costs during peak usage times in the summer. The tank could cut energy costs by up to $900,000 annually.

Although the design of the tank is simple, there are some complexities with the pipeline connecting the tank to UNL’s facilities.

“Building the pipeline involved working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Lower Platte South NRD [Natural Resources District] for approvals,” said Ben. “It also requires trenchless installation to cross underneath Antelope Creek, so we designed bored crossings under the creek for two 36-inch chilled water mains.”

Olsson is also providing other services such as geotech, survey, mechanical design for the building, automation and controls design and programming, construction phase services, and materials testing for the project. Cool Solutions designed the tank, Sinclair Hille provided the architectural design and renderings, and Archrival provided the tank concept renderings. The new tank will go online in spring 2018.

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