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Thermal Systems Energy Laboratory receives upgrade

November 13th, 2017

20170927 ME Johnson Controls Lab SG01 72

Thermal Systems Energy Laboratory receives upgrade

Nov. 13, 2017—MSOE students now have access to the latest heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment thanks to a $750,000 donation from Johnson Controls Inc. The company supplied a new commercial-sized HVAC system specifically designed for examining process and control systems involved in creating a comfortable environment in a building, as well as the design, engineering and installation of that equipment.


Johnson Controls Inc. and MSOE dedicated the laboratory on Nov. 9. From left: Don Albinger ’82, ’99 – VP/GM –Global Control Business and Product Development, JCI; Dean W. Johnson ’94, Lead Instructor, JCI ; Dr. John Y. Walz, MSOE president; and MSOE Regent Brian Cooke – Group Vice President, JCI.

Major components include a 225-ton rated chiller for cooling and dehumidification, a natural gas-fired water heater for heating, two air handlers to circulate the air, a roof-top cooling tower for energy rejection, and a state-of-the-art control system.

“MSOE students in mechanical engineering and architectural engineering will be able to conduct experiments using state-of-the-art HVAC equipment and control systems, and on the other side, Johnson Controls will use the facility for classes and seminars,” Dr. John Walz, MSOE president. “It’s truly a win-win.”

The equipment and systems were designed and instrumented to provide an effective learning environment for MSOE’s students. Glass panels allow for viewing of the internal elements of the components. Sensors record important parameters (temperature, pressure, flow rate and power consumption) at critical locations. Real-time video display provides information on system operations. Students examine HVAC system operations overall, as well as the performance of the individual components.

Mechanical engineering students utilize the laboratory during their thermodynamics courses, while architectural engineering students use it during their building environmental systems courses.

Johnson Controls also benefits from this laboratory—the company uses the facility for classes and seminars within its Johnson Controls Institute, in cooperation with MSOE.

“It was a true passion of mine to make this come to fruition,” said Dean Johnson ’94, lead instructor for JCI.

Johnson was honored at a lab dedication ceremony on Nov. 9 for his contributions. He planned the lab layout then functioned as project manager.

“Our hope in the future is that together we can continue to create learners who have the right skills and knowledge to be successful in the professional environment,” said Caroline Dumont, VP, Buildings Product & Channel Learning, Johnson Controls.

Consistent with MSOE’s applications-oriented curriculum, these laboratory experiences reinforce the classroom theory.

“I think this partnership is proof that our mission – our belief in a hands-on education and partnerships with industry, still works well,” Walz said. “I am extremely grateful to Johnson Controls for this gift and also for their belief in what we do here at MSOE. And I look forward to discussing how we can make this partnership even stronger.”

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