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ESD Interns Explore Thermal Chicago’s District Cooling Plant

One of the key objectives of our internship program is to provide interns with project experience that translates classroom theory into practical application. However, beyond their experience with live documents and project drawings, our goal is to provide our interns with an understanding of what completed designs look like and accomplish.

This summer, a group of ESD interns and newly hired graduates, along with Senior Vice Presidents Paul Barter and James Johnson, visited one of Thermal Chicago Corporation?s district cooling plants in downtown Chicago. The trip served as an opportunity for the developing engineers to get a firsthand look at the physical systems our drawings and designs represent. While the design of Thermal Chicago?s district cooling plant at Franklin and Van Buren took place over 15 years ago, many of the project?s lead designers still work at ESD.

This project demonstrates the sustainable design at the forefront of ESD?s mission: to improve society through the built environment. The ice storage system allows off peak cooling production which helps the electric utility minimize their peak energy production infrastructure.

?It?s amazing to think that this one corporation with its five chiller plants is responsible for supplying chilled water to over 100 buildings within Chicago,? says ESD Intern Samantha Davidson. ?I couldn?t help but notice the organization of the system, including colored pipes to differentiate fluid types.?

Along with this tour, ESD summer interns have participated in on-site project meetings, an architectural tour of Chicago, and weekly lunch and learns hosted by leaders from throughout the firm. We hope that the valuable work experience and mentorship they receive during their short time here supplements their education by giving them real world experience to turn theory into practice.

Thermal Chicago Project Profile