Commercial, Data Centers
HVAC, Plumbing
Plan & Spec
NBC Universal’s objective was to move into a fully-renovated, state-of-the-art West Coast production facility prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The new broadcast center would occupy two existing buildings located on the northwest edge of the Universal Studios lot, totaling about 150,000 square-feet. The existing buildings would be taken down to their frames before being built back-up into a gleaming new complex designed to house four newsrooms, six production studios, and a state-of-the-art Data Center. Xcel Mechanical Systems was hired by General Contractor C.W. Driver Builders to lead the 3D BIM coordination and perform the Mechanical HVAC, Plumbing and Process Piping installation for both the Core-and-Shell and Tenant Improvement portions of the project.
The Challenge
The Challenge was in the Data Center. Fabricating, installing and commissioning the Chilled Water Central Plant and Data Center portions of this project was a critical element within Xcel’s overall scope. If the Data Center did not come online by the specified date, the facility would not be operational in time for the start of the Olympics. Any delays in the completion of this work would have put the entire project’s delivery date in jeopardy. Through detailing and BIM coordination, it was discovered that the piping configuration and space required for the central plant to operate per the original design would present considerable service access issues given the lack of space and structural concerns. The MEP had promised NBC a water-side economizer solution, so that when the outside ambient temperature dropped below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, the building automation system would shut the chillers down and the building cooling system could rely solely on condenser water running through heat exchangers. This solution would offer them “Free Cooling” during certain times of the year with the net result being a more energy-efficient, cost-effective cooling solution. Delivering on the Mechanical Engineers vision within the constraints of an existing structure and a hard deadline was the ultimate goal.
The Xcel Mechanical team presented the Mechanical Engineer with an alternative design and piping configuration that eliminated the need for the secondary set of condenser water pumps (initially the basis of the Free Cooling concept), solved the service access issues, and provided a savings of approximately $120k on what was proving to be a budget-challenged project. All of the issues were solved without sacrificing the original design intent of “Free Cooling” and the client was given a serviceable central plant. There was also the bonus of new usable production space on the floor below given the elimination of the secondary condenser water pumps. The MEP’s design intent was met. A fully-functioning, space friendly cooling system was delivered to the client. And fewer pumps saved NBC approximately $120,000. It was a win-win-win.