Project update – 18 October 2018

Stage 1 of the Joint Engineering Precinct to connect the chilled water systems between the Advanced Engineering Building (AEB -14) and Hawken Engineering Building (50) was completed on schedule in June 2018. The anticipated energy savings are already being delivered with an overall saving of 262,000 kWh to the end of September 2018 which is worth $36,700. This is well on target to meet the predicted annual savings of $100k per annum.

The amazing aspect of the energy savings is that even though the AEB chillers are now serving 8 buildings instead of 3, the additional electrical load imposed on AEB for this period has only increased by 13,000 kWh. This is due to the higher running efficiency of the chillers with the increased load. It is almost the case that we are getting the additional chilled water for free.

The project has not been without its complications and disruptions to the normal functioning of the affected buildings. However, the cooperation and understanding shown by building occupants throughout the project has been exceptional and is greatly appreciated.

Stage 2 of the project is already out for tender. This second phase will add more capacity to the combined system such that there will be enough chilled water to serve the new Andrew N Liveris building. This contributes a significant capital cost saving for the new building and relinquishes valuable floor space for other priorities. The shared load and redundancy of the extended chilled water system will produce overall gains in both energy consumption and plant maintenance.

The project will involve the installation of new high efficiency chillers into the Hawken chiller plant room matched with new cooling towers located on the roof. The new works will be carried out in 2019 so that the system is complete and fully tested well before the connection to the Andrew N Liveris building. The connection point for the new building is already in place in readiness.

Project scope

The joint engineering precinct is a two-stage project that will:

  • connect two neighbouring chilled water systems to improve overall energy consumption
  • replace old, inefficient chiller plant
  • provide enough chilled water capacity to air condition the new Andrew N. Liveris building.

Stage 1 of the project  will join the two existing chilled water systems in the Advanced Engineering Building (AEB) and the Hawken building. Stage 2 of the project will involve expanding the capacity of this combined system to accommodate the 11-storey Andrew N. Liveris building.

The four Hawken chillers serve the engineering chilled water precinct, and are some of the oldest and most inefficient chillers at UQ. Three of have reached their end-of-life stage and still use refrigerant R22, which is being phased out.

The relatively new AEB features modern, efficient chillers with plenty of spare capacity. If these chillers were given an additional workload, they would run more efficiently.

The “business as usual” approach would simply replace the old chillers in the Hawken building with new ones. However, by joining the two precincts together, the AEB chillers will operate more efficiently and achieve an overall energy reduction of 800,000 kWh, worth $100,000 per annum.


AEB chiller
(click to enlarge)
New chilled water pumps
(click to enlarge)
New AEB pipework
(click to enlarge)