Construction work is under way on a $1.15 million county project to build a chiller plant at Phillippi Estate Park.
The new central chiller plant should be completed by August, said Susan Walsh, communications associate with Sarasota County.
The central chiller plant will replace the existing system and will decrease energy consumption, Walsh said. It will cool the Edson Keith Mansion at the park and several other buildings, including the park office and farmhouse.
The central chiller plant operates differently than a typical air-conditioning system, producing chilled water that moves to individual buildings through underground piping to cool the buildings. The earth acts as an insulator against heat; it keeps water in the pipes cool.
The type of plant at Phillippi will include ice storage, which allows the system to operate during off hours, when energy costs are lower, and reduce operational noise during the day, according to a county report on the project.
The goal of the project is to preserve the historic estate.
“The installation of chilled water systems in the Phillippi park site area is a step towards energy efficiency and preservation stability of the existing buildings,” the report concluded.
County commissioners approved the project in September.
The county currently has 20 chilled water plant systems, Walsh said. Six of those — Jacaranda Library, Fruitville Library, North Library, Selby Library, R.L. Anderson Administration Center and Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) headquarters — are “ice plants,” which are the same design as the Phillippi plant.
The Phillippi plant will be about 8 feet in height and measure 35 feet by 25 feet.
The installation of a central chiller plant at Phillippi Estate Park, located at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail. This new central chiller plant, which includes an ice storage system, will replace the existing inefficient systems and will decrease energy consumption, while increasing reliability. As part of this project, chiller piping will be extended to two other outbuildings in the park for future tie-in to the central system.
Contractor: Jon F. Swift Inc. of Sarasota
Construction Contract Amount: $1,150,816.10
Construction Completion: August
Impacts to Park Activities: Impacts to park staff and activities have been minimal. There were some parking adjustments for the farmers market and staff office relocation while work was performed within the Carriage House.