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NEWS | Aug. 24, 2023

Building cooling system upgrades underway at PSNS & IMF

By Max Maxfield, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Buildings throughout Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility are scheduled to receive temporary cooling upgrades over the coming weeks and months, with more upgrades planned for next year.

According to Brad Nelson, project manager, Code 980X, Project Management within Production Engineering and Facilities, his department has been working for months with Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Shop 99, Temporary Services, to evaluate buildings at PSNS & IMF and determine if it is possible to install either mechanical or evaporative cooling systems in them.

Mechanical cooling systems include what most people think of as air conditioning, while evaporative cooling systems are often informally referred to as “swamp coolers.” According to Nelson, various factors must be considered when deciding on which system is most effective for a specific building.

“The determination is made by examining the electrical capabilities and existing air delivery systems for each of the buildings,” he said. “Many of our buildings are very old and have neither the electrical capacity nor air delivery capability for mechanical cooling. Those buildings are better candidates for evaporative cooling systems.”

For now, Buildings 107, 290, 367, 368, 427, 431, 448, 457, 495, 844, 851, 879, 978, 879 and 980 are scheduled to receive temporary evaporative cooling systems in the coming months.

A temporary mechanical cooling system has been installed in Building 879. Nelson said the systems in Buildings 368 and 980 are currently being installed, with other buildings also being evaluated.

“We will continue to survey every one of the buildings in the [Controlled Industrial Area] to determine the best approach to helping our tenants,” Nelson said. “We began this effort last month, and we continue to go through each of our buildings to determine what can be done to improve the conditions for the workers. We will likely need several months of planning and preparation to continue this effort next summer.”

“While we are remaining budget conscience with this project, the productivity of our coworkers remains at the forefront of our effort,” he said. “Morale is generally higher, people become better collaborators and more productive when they are in a comfortable environment.”

Code 980X has organized the cooling system project overall, Nelson said, with the support of several branches within Code 980M, Maintenance Programs, including efforts of Code 980M.3, Waterfront Project Facilities; and 980M.5, Facility Management.

Nelson said the teamwork throughout Code 980, Production Engineering & Facilities, has been effective, but a project of this scope will take time to reach its full benefit.

Nelson said many people will be able to experience the benefits of this project by next year.