An open-loop geoexchange district energy system was completed in 2008 to serve the UBC Okanagan Campus in Kelowna. Falcon Engineering was first engaged by UBCO in 2016 to study and make recommendations on improving the system’s functionality. We began with an overall review of the system and proceeded with upgrades on a building-by- building basis. The following is a brief description of the work completed in each building:
The existing piping systems within the building were upgraded and reconfigured to improve flow characteristics. In order to improve the system’s overall heat dissipation and provide capacity to serve additional buildings, an additional cooling tower was added.
The existing system was found to encourage short-circuiting of supply water back to the return piping, causing compressor failures due to short cycling, and reducing the system’s overall effective capacity. The primary heat pump system piping was reconfigured to improve flow characteristics and prevent short circuiting. This improved heat pump compressor lifespan while liberated additional cooling and heating capacity.
The outside air system serving the cafeteria kitchen was upgraded to an air source heat pump in order to reduce energy required for heating.
The same issues and opportunities found at Fipke were also discovered in the University Centre building. Similar piping reconfiguration work was completed and similar positive results were obtained.
Existing thermal plant systems in this building had been found to constrain the operating temperature range of the district energy loop, negatively impacting energy performance across multiple buildings served by the loop. The primary heat pump system was reconfigured to resolve this incompatibility. Like the other buildings, these upgrades improved equipment life expectancy and increased heating and cooling capacity available to the building.
The lab exhaust system was upgraded to improve energy recovery through the outside air systems.