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SITUATION:

To help achieve its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, MIT is upgrading its on-campus cogeneration plant, a key step in developing an energy strategy that makes climate change a top priority. As part of this initiative, MIT selected BOND to provide pre-construction and construction management services for its new Central Utilities Plant (CUP).  To date, the existing plant provides electricity, steam heat and chilled water to more than 100 MIT buildings. New enhancements will increase power capacity, improve resiliency of the campus and support future research while conserving energy and promoting sustainability.

The new facility will feature: two 22-megawatt Solar Titan 250 dual fuel combustion turbine generators (CTG), two Hamon Deltak heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), new electrical distribution switchgear, new CUP control room and a new gas regulator station that will provide additional capacity and more reliable gas service to the Cambridge community.

CHALLENGES:

  • Complete installations and expansion of utility systems without disruption to the current CUP including new underground electric infrastructure (microgrid)
  • Buried campus utilities surrounding project site including high pressure gas, chilled water, condenser water, steam, condensate, and electrical ductbanks
  • Construct building above and below active MBTA railroad track right of away
    Installation of major equipment within the constrained space of an active plant
  • Located on a tight urban site within an active campus requiring consideration for vehicular and pedestrian traffic

SOLUTIONS:

  • Develop thorough and complete utility system shutdown and tie in plans preventing unscheduled campus interruption
  • Identify location of utilities prior to start of plan worked and update as-builts to provide true location of all utilities with proposed excavations and foundations
  • Utilize in-house laser scanning and Building Information Modeling services to develop critical pick planning and equipment rigging plans
  • Rigorous planning and communication with MBTA to minimize track shutdown durations and allow construction to proceed on time
  • Develop a robust traffic management plan with the City of Cambridge to coordinate deliveries and major rigging activates during off hours and on weekends to limit impact to campus and city streets

RESULTS:

  • Upgrade plant to use natural gas for all normal operations, lowering MIT’s pollutant emissions more than 24% from 2014 emissions levels;
  • Project to be completed by 2020, by which time both new CTG’s  and HRSG’s will be up and running in an enhanced facility at existing plant’s location between Vassar and Albany Streets
  • Safely deliver equipment without incident and with minimal disruption to surrounding areas
  • Existing CUP to remain operational throughout the project with no unscheduled shutdowns to services
  • Provide a reliable district energy source for the MIT campus and its future building endeavors