Thomas Jefferson University Hospital taps into reliable chilled water





Philadelphia, PA

Square footage

1.7 million

The customer

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is the flagship hospital of Jefferson Health, a multi-state, nonprofit health system based in Philadelphia, PA. With 925 beds, the hospital is renowned for providing excellent clinical and compassionate care for patients in the region. The facility serves as a teaching hospital for Thomas Jefferson University, a private research institution with a rich legacy dating back to 1824.

The challenge

As an innovative university and healthcare provider of the greater Philadelphia area, Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Jefferson) wanted to grow and renew its utility infrastructure to enhance its cooling capacities. Due to the critical importance of the campus’ daily operations, finding a highly reliable, efficient, and cost-effective solution that could meet stringent requirements was paramount. Due to capital constraints, the institution also required a financing solution to advance these capital improvements.

The solution

To accommodate the institution’s energy-intensive operations, Vicinity designed, financed, and built a central chilled water facility at Jefferson. Vicinity operates and maintains the central chilled water plant consisting of cooling towers, chilled water and condensing water pumps, electric switchgear, an emergency generator, and 2,000 feet of chilled water pipes. With 7,000 tons of chilled water capacity, the plant supplies the campus with the reliable cooling it needs to carry out mission-critical operations.

Access to capital

With a $24 million capital cost, Vicinity provided a financing solution for this major investment project on behalf of Jefferson. Due to access to low-cost financing solutions through Vicinity’s parent company, Jefferson was able to benefit from reliable, precise chilled water service without the upfront capital expense that would have been incurred from self-development. In this way, the institution could better allocate available investment capital on core functions.

Meeting reliability needs with trusted operations and maintenance

Vicinity’s cooling solution ensures that operations are running with a 99.99% reliability guarantee with support from Vicinity’s dedicated team of energy experts at all times. In partnership with the customer, Vicinity’s ongoing maintenance program also optimizes the chilled water facility’s performance to better conserve energy and reduce energy costs. Cooling tower maintenance activities includes replacing oil in gearboxes to prevent friction and corrosion; performing vibration analysis to mitigate risks related to increased noise, safety concerns, and system inefficiencies; inspecting and repairing distribution spray pipes and nozzles; cleaning basins; and upgrading fan blades and drive shafts as needed.

Chiller maintenance includes inspecting all chiller and condenser pumps; cleaning and servicing all variable frequency drives (VFDs) and glycol heat exchangers, the equipment used to cool VFDs; taking oil samples and adjusting levels; and cleaning condenser tubes to maximize equipment lifespan and improve overall energy efficiency. This thorough preventative maintenance program allows Jefferson to focus on the critical work the community depends on with uninterrupted attention and care.


capital savings icon

Capital savings

energy experts

Access to energy experts

Less maintenance