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EEA Employee Owners tour Austin Energy’s District Cooling Plant #3

Employee Owners from EEA’s Austin office recently congregated on Electric Drive for a look at the City of Austin and Austin Energy’s District Cooling Plant #3. Triangulated between high-rise residential buildings, the Roy and Anne Butler Hike and Bike Trail, and the beloved Seaholm plant, the DCP3 plant delivers cooled water to many of downtown Austin’s large commercial buildings.

Adorned with imported cerulean blue ceramic tiles and curving along an oblong sliver of land, the space itself is a striking example of a world-class district cooling plant. Everything about the design of DCP3 embodies the city of Austin — its outward projection, internal systems, focus on sustainability, and productivity all make it reflective of the city’s culture and landscape.

EEAers were led through DCP3 by Michele Bryant, an Austin Energy plant engineer who worked closely with the EEA team throughout design and construction, and EEA Senior Project Manager John Makar. Together, the team explored the 10,000 ton-capacity plant, taking note of the four primary and three secondary chilled water pumps, four 2,500-ton chillers, and nine cooling towers. As Michele pointed out, many of the equipment and systematic choices are indicative of the design team’s prioritization of both efficiency and redundancy. These two principles ensure that the plant runs smoothly and in an environmentally conscious manner.

We were thrilled to be the prime MEP firm on this project. The design team faced several challenges in designing this plant (check out the video to learn more about that here). With a unique piece of land, Capitol Corridor restrictions, and placement in a highly sought-after downtown residential neighborhood, the team had to create something quiet, reflective of the landscape, and secure. The result of such is this state-of-the-art district cooling plant which became operational in summer 2021 and is currently at full capacity. 

Thank you to Michele Bryant and Austin Energy for giving the EEA team a first-hand look at Austin Energy’s newest cooling plant. We could not be prouder of EEA’s internal project team that consisted of Mark Mikulin, Fritz Stinson, John Makar, Todd Schmitt, Mike Gath, Tyrone Thompson, Javier Zapata, Aaron Bulla, Andrew Blackwell, Dean Hunt, and Robert Davis (pictured below) for their long, hard work on DCP3. Cheers to sustainable and efficient air conditioning systems!