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Featured Projects

Bringing a Thermal Energy Standpipe to Life on a Bustling Campus

University of Texas Medical Branch

While there are always challenges inherent when building a standpipe, it becomes especially ambitious when that standpipe stands on the Texas Gulf Coast shore. The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas sought out chilled water for cooling and efficiency. They needed to make a standpipe, even given the limited real estate available within a resort town. 

Caldwell constructed a 65-foot diameter by almost 90-foot tall Chilled Water Thermal Energy Storage Standpipe, creating a project that could achieve the performance requirements of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s cooling system; something that could fit within a tight site. We designed a standpipe that could store 16,000 Ton Hours of Thermal Energy. 

Further complicating construction, this standpipe marked just one part of this major facility’s expansion amid a continually operating university. This meant a lot of moving pieces. At the same time Caldwell worked on constructing this standpipe, a three-story maintenance facility building likewise was on the rise, mid-construction only eight feet away from the south side of this standpipe. Meanwhile, on the east side of the standpipe, a parking deck existed a mere five feet away. A pump building towered 20 feet from the west side. Additionally, an elevated water storage tank marked 30 feet to the north side. Lastly, working gas pumps and pipelines hovered within 50 feet.

Caldwell had to construct, paint, and insulate the standpipe along with the diffuser within it, all on a site in an urban area that offered limited real estate, where many other construction workers worked adjacent to our work site. This presented difficulties we had to carefully tackle throughout each phase of construction with precision. One of the most complex pieces of work we confronted arose during the application of the coatings for the tank exterior; a feature that required two coats of epoxy phenolic. Given the other construction workers as well as the close proximity of neighboring buildings, containment was a must.

When a building is located within five feet of the shell wall, taking special precautions becomes essential — even when containment is in place. The UTMB felt satisfied with the completion of this Thermal Energy Standpipe; constructed, tested, painted, and insulated to each exact specification. 

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Galveston, TX

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Tank Size & Style

16,000 Ton-Hour and 2,070,000 Gallon Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Tank with a height of 87 feet. 

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Consulting Engineer


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