District Cooling Plant Tours for International Visitors

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

On January 25-27, 2016 Orlando hosted the AHR Expo, which brought people from all over the world together to discuss and share ideas, products, business, etc. On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 25+ visitors from all over South & Central America and the Caribbean took advantage of this opportunity and came to Tampa, FL to meet with the semi-retired Vice President of Tampa Bay Trane, Robert Garcia, to tour Tampa Bay Trane’s district cooling plants. The goal of these tours was to learn how ice storage works and the advantages it holds for both the company and customers. “The difficulty of the tour was having to present in two languages,” said Garcia, as most of the visitors spoke Spanish and a few were from the English speaking islands in the Caribbean.

The first stop in the district cooling plant tours was the Hillsborough Chiller plant, located on Zack Street in downtown Tampa. Here guests had the chance to hear the story behind the build of the plant, see all the neighboring buildings it feeds to and how it was built to what it is today. Switching back and forth between Spanish and English, Garcia goes over the challenges he came across when building the plant while touring the inside, which held two Trane Centravac Chillers. Going outside, Garcia talked about the use of the Marley Cooling Towers and how they better serve the cooling plant. Guests then made their way to the controls room where Garcia and Tampa Bay Trane technician, Duane Karges, showed them a bit on how the controls work, the information it displays on ice storage and what it all means in terms of how it’s contributing to the functioning of the plant and saving money and energy.

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(Left: Garcia with guests inside the Hillsborough Chiller Plant; Right: Garcia and guests in the Controls Room of the Hillsborough Chiller Plant)

For lunch, Trane hosted everyone at the famous Columbia restaurant in Ybor City where guests got to experience a taste of the Hispanic culture in Tampa. Everyone enjoyed each other’s company while talking over drinks and wonderful food!

The second and final stop was to the Clearwater Energy Plant, where outside Garcia explained the situation he faced in solving the city’s problems and HVAC needs. “As we are in a residential area, we needed to create an effective cooling plant that could serve multiple buildings while creating minimal noise so as to not disturb nearby residents,” said Garcia, as he pointed out the five county and 2 private buildings the plant serves. Going inside, guests learned how the cooling plant was built to last 50+ years with the ingenious ideas used for the size of the underground pipes, layout of the indoor pumps, and the use of the Trane Centravac chillers, while being able to make any change-outs/additions necessary.


(Garcia with guests outside the Clearwater Energy Plant)

During the tour, guests got to see the use of the Tracer SC controls in conjunction with the plant as well as the controls for each individual chiller.

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(Left: Garcia showing guests how the Tracer SC works at the Clearwater Chiller Plant; Right: A guest looking at the touch pad controls for one of the Trane Centravac Chillers)

Taking them outside, Garcia showed guests how he laid out the Marley cooling towers and Calmac Ice Tanks so they would be able to function properly, while having a set up that would support future expansion. “We built the walls on the outside higher than the towers and tanks so that any noise created would travel up and solve the noise issue,” Garcia explained.


(Garcia explains how he designed the layout of the Marley Cooling Towers)


(Garcia explains how Calmac Ice Tanks work to benefit the plant)


(Garcia explains how he designed the layout of the Calmac Ice Tanks for future expansion)

Before departing, guests took pictures/videos, asked final questions, and said their many thanks to Robert Garcia.


Tampa Bay Trane is currently the only Trane office that has created and owns district cooling plants in North America.

For more photos, check out our Flickr Album HERE