Failed pump reduces chilled-water cooling capacity at Cornell as heat wave broils Ithaca

July 10, 2010

McGraw TowerMcGraw TowerFailure of a 200 hp chilled-water booster pump in the Kite Hill area of the Cornell University campus on Monday afternoon has resulted in lessened cooling capacity for campus buildings as temperatures soar into the 90s outside. Cornell has adopted a "load shed" plan to spread the effect out across campus, lessening the problem for the buildings that would otherwise take the lion's share of the impact.

The result is slightly higher temperatures in office spaces, classrooms and other public areas of campus buildings. Cornell facilities staff is focusing on providing sufficient cooling for animal spaces and other live research spaces that depend on cooler temperatures. After spreading the cooling load across the portion of campus east of Garden Ave (including the agriculture quad, athletic facilities, and veterinary school) on Monday night, facilities crews on Tuesday morning said the load shed was affecting the entire campus.

Engineers located a replacement motor for the failed pump late Monday evening, and expected it would take several hours to install after it arrived on campus this morning.

As temperatures soar past 90 on Tuesday afternoon, with a forecast high in the mid 90s each of the next three days, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air-quality alert in effect until 10pm tonight, and from 10am to 10pm on Wednesday. The state predicts an air quality index of 100 or above for ozone in several counties from the Catskills through Central New York.

Cornell cools much of its campus with water chilled in heat exchangers on the shore of Cayuga Lake, thanks to a so-called "lake source cooling" project that's been in operation for ten years.

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