Existing thermal energy storage tank, June 2005. Old Waste Water Treatment Plant Offices, June 2005.

UC Davis' Chilled Water Facility produces and distributes chilled water for cooling buildings on campus. Water is chilled to 39 degrees (3.9°C) at night, then looped through the core campus to cool buildings during the day. The project site was, until about 1996, campus' waste water treatment plant when a new one was constructed near Interstate 80. It is located on a 7.5 acre parcel at the intersection of La Rue Road and Putah Creek Lodge Road, across from the Cole Facility. Most central campus facilities rely on the campus cooling system to maintain building temperatures; this closed system is the most energy-efficient way to cool a large number of buildings, and explains why some buildings may seem exceptionally cold — the system benefits are negated by heating chilled water to moderate temperatures. The system also provides chilled water to laboratories and in computer facilities to control ambient temperatures.

This is the second of campus' two chilled water plants. The 10,350-ton chilled water plant was constructed sometime after 1999, and includes two electric chillers, two cooling towers, a thermal energy storage tank, and pipelines connecting the plant to the campus' chilled water distribution system. In 2002, campus received a $1 million grant from the California Public Utilities Commission to buy a new chiller for the plant. UC Davis' first facility, the Central Heating & Cooling Plant, is just north of the Tercero area and was built in 1967; it has a capacity of 10,000 tons, consists of steam-driven chillers, cooling towers, pumps, and a distribution system. Steam for this system is generated by two 100,000-pound-per-hour natural gas boilers and chilled water is pumped through the system by two 400-horsepower pumps to provide 9,150 tons/hour of chilled water.

Campus' 2003 LRDP proposed a facility expansion that would increase chilling capacity by 8,000 tons and include four new electric chillers, four new cooling towers, associated pumps, and an additional 5.7-million-gallon thermal energy storage (TES) tank at the existing chilled water plant in a two-phase project. The project would increase the capacity of the campus chilled water system to approximately 27,500 tons.