The design for a new central plant at Harrah's Bossier City's Louisiana Downs was on the fast track — it needed to produce chilled water in nine months. The team needed to develop, budget, engineer, price, purchase, construct, and commission an efficient, high-quality chilled water plant in this short timeframe.
Founded in 1937, Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. is the world's largest casino operator. Harrah's owns or manages 28 casinos in 13 different states in the United States, primarily under the Harrah's, Rio, Showboat, Horseshoe, and Harvey's brand names. Their goal is to provide superior customer service in an exciting and entertaining atmosphere, and to become the overwhelming first choice for casino entertainment.

Harrah's shuffled all of these objectives into its efforts at Bossier City's Louisiana Downs to give a facelift to one of the South's most cherished horse racing venues. Design and construction began on a 150,000-sq-ft luxury casino that blended all of their famous ingredients - fabulous restaurants, trendy entertainment, and state-of-the-art gaming areas - to mold an entertainment complex that would practically guarantee success.

Track Record

Their only problem was that they had a lot of work to do in a very short time in order to meet the state-issued opening day of thoroughbred racing. The clock was running. Mark Shulman, executive vice president with Giovanetti Shulman Associates (GSA), a national MEP design firm specializing in the gaming industry, had the responsibility of finding a central plant solution for Harrah's new Louisiana casino. Harrah's energy-consulting firm, Mobius Risk Group, insisted on high energy efficiency for this new plant and Harrah's business plan demanded that the solution would responsibly manage their energy consumption.

The initial discovery meeting was held in May 2003, and Harrah's new central plant needed to produce chilled water by March 2004. There were only nine months to develop, budget, engineer, price, purchase, construct, and commission an efficient, high-quality chilled water plant.

TAS Packaged Central Plants, which was brought onto the project in the early going, knew the importance of a central plant designed for lowest life-cycle cost and highest net present value. A packaged central plant was the unique solution to fulfill Harrah's unique needs. Because of Harrah's and Mobius' knowledge of their overall costs, Harrah's knew what they spend on their existing chiller plants and also had measured their typical total energy operating efficiencies.

GSA had already fully incorporated Trane's "EarthWise" design elements, namely high-efficiency chiller, low-chilled water supply temperature, low-flow variable primary pumping, and moderately high chilled water and condenser water temperature differential. Trane Tracer Summit Controls were also integrated into the balance of the casino project. TAS, a strategic partner of Trane and the exclusive packager of Trane chillers, already utilized energy optimized principles. In very little time, all agreed that the TAS packaged central plant solution was "in the cards" for Harrah's.

Richard Emmons, director of facilities for Harrah's Entertainment, Inc. stated, "Harrah's is committed to providing absolute comfort to our casino customers at an operating efficiency that ensures a proper return to our stockholders and minimizes the environmental impact of the communities that we serve. The packaged central plant met all of these developmental goals.

A Winning Hand

A purchase order was issued within a month, and a local Shreveport contractor, Berg Mechanical, was selected. A TAS packaged central plant allowed the facility to produce chilled water in less than 23 weeks from the issuance date of their order. Site installation was completed within a month. As a result, Harrah's had air conditioning, and the interior finishes even had time to properly cure in their new temperate environment. Their opening deadlines were met comfortably.

The turnkey installation price for the plant was less than $1,300/ton, and the total plant operating power usage is below 0.75 kW/ton at full-load conditions and even lower at part load. Initially, this 1,200-ton plant is designed to accommodate Harrah's Phase I load. Two 800-ton chillers, pumps, towers, electrical, and other components can be added for future expansion. An emergency transfer switch was installed inside the skid in case of a grid power loss. In addition, 6-in. quick connects on the chilled water supply and return lines were installed. In case of a plant failure, emergency temporary chillers could be brought in to take care of the cooling load until an operating malfunction is repaired.

The true success of this project is measured in the fact that the grand opening was a success, the plant is operating well, the local operating manager is pleased, energy costs are down, and Harrah's has already ordered and installed another similar plant on their next casino.ES