The Roanoke Times’ new printing facility required an ample flow of chilled water to cool bearings, rollers, motor controls, and VSDs. The requirement was met by using air cooled chiller rated at 140 tons.
The Roanoke Times is the dominant newspaper in southwestern Virginia, with a daily circulation of 100,000 in its 19-county area. The paper recently decided to install a new, larger printing plant at the newspaper's headquarters in Roanoke. This new facility required additional comfort cooling plus a chilled water plant dedicated to process water cooling for the new press.

The paper is headquartered in an 85,000-sq-ft building in downtown Roanoke. The building houses editorial offices, the circulation department, and, until recently, the printing operation. According to Dennis "Chip" Harris, project director for the Times, the paper had in recent years identified the need for additional press capacity.

The existing press had reached the limits of its capacity. Replacing it was no small project, because daily production could not stop. Further, the existing press hall was not nearly large enough to accommodate the type of new press needed. An additional challenge was the limited size of the existing building site.

The solution was to develop a new building across the street from the existing facility and to connect the two buildings via a skyway. The new press hall totals 47,000 sq ft and is a two-story design. The second floor pressroom portion of the structure is 70 ft tall and features a glass-and-brick front. On the same floor as the press there is a climate-controlled pre-press room which houses two Anitec thermal computer-to-plate units, which produce the printing plates. The plant went into operation in late October 2003.

Original Building System Upgraded

The two Roanoke Times buildings have separate comfort systems. The original building has three Trane Series R™ Model RTHA water cooled screw chillers rated at 125 tons each. In the early 1990s, these replaced three old Trane centrifugal chillers, 1950s vintage Model CV units that used CFC refrigerants. Harris said that with the original system, both chillers needed to run to supply independent chilled water networks in the building. In the upgrade, the piping was modified to put all of the chillers on a common header, thus the chillers can be staged on as required.

During the 1990s, the newspaper also replaced older constant-volume, built-up type air handlers with Trane Modular Climate Changer™ air handlers. These, together with a Trane Tracer Summit™ building control system, provide improved ventilation rates and improved comfort throughout the building. This system upgrade was completed in 1999. According to Harris, replacing the air handlers with the more compact modular units also freed up floor space. "A constant refrain in our HVAC planning has been conserving floor space for newspaper operations." Two cooling towers serving chillers are located on the roof of the building.

Air cooled Chiller Supplies Process Water

In the new facility, a somewhat different approach was taken. The press itself requires an ample flow of chilled water to cool bearings, rollers, motor controls, and VSDs. This requirement is met with a Trane air cooled Series R™ Model RTAC air cooled chiller rated at 140 tons. To ensure trouble-free year-round operation, the air cooled chiller uses a glycol solution rather than straight water to supply the press. The coolant is delivered at 45° F.

According to Harris, this method was chosen because of the proven reliability and low maintenance requirements of the Trane air cooled chiller. "Additionally," Harris noted, "This was a very restricted building site, and every square foot of floor space was important. A rooftop chiller conserves space within the building." He added that the chiller is an essential element of the printing operation. "When the press comes on, the chilled water pump starts, simultaneously."

Rooftop Units For Environmental Cooling

In addition to the chiller for process cooling water, environmental control is provided to the press building with two Trane IntelliPak™ rooftop units, with a cooling capacity of 130 tons each. This environmental control is important not only for the comfort of employees in the building, but also to ensure a stable environment for the press and the paper supply feeding it. According to Harris, "We want to keep the relative humidity in the building between 40% and 60% at all times." Dehumidification is accomplished with the rooftop air conditioners, and humidification in the winter months is provided by a misting system.

The Roanoke Times expects to see a substantial number of visitors in coming years to view the new Heidelberg press in operation. But what the visitors will also see is a newspaper facility with an advanced and reliable process and comfort cooling system. ES