Ford Motor Company Central Energy Plant

Location: Dearborn, Michigan

Areas of Expertise:  HVAC

In 2018, Ford Motor Company began construction on a new central energy plant to provide heating and cooling efficiencies to its numerous campus buildings in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford partnered with DTE Energy, who turned to Hooper’s Mechanical Division – HVAC for our experience in managing and installing large geothermal and district pipeline systems.

Hooper was responsible for installing the underground CHW and HW piping system to connect Ford’s new Central Energy Plant to their new central campus office building and dynamometer lab. Construction required careful planning and coordination to reduce disruptions on the busy campus. DTE Energy requested Hooper’s expertise to help coordinate and install the large underground heating and cooling system. Phase one of the project included the installation of 4,630 feet of underground hot and chilled water HDPE piping ranging in sizes of 42 inches down to 18 inches. The total volume of the underground chilled water system was 75,000 gallons and the hot water system was 48,000 gallons. This phase was completed in 2019, and provided Ford with chilled and hot water to condition the existing dynamometer lab.

Phase two of the project started in 2020 and expanded the underground pipe installation west from the dynamometer lab to the new central campus office building. This phase added an additional 4,200 ft. of 36″ chilled water and 32″ hot water HDPE piping as well as two large underground isolation valve vaults for future growth capabilities. Total chilled water system volume increased to a total of 183,500 gallons and the hot water system increased to a total of 120,300 gallons of water.

This project was not without its challenges. To avoid potential conflicts with other underground utilities, Hooper crews utilized ground penetrating radar and exploratory digging to identify existing underground utilities. Once the existing utilities were identified Hooper used open-cut trenching or underground boring to install the underground piping. Great planning and communication was key to the successful installation! Thanks to our partners, Ford Motor Company, DTE Energy, and Salas O’Brien for the opportunity to work together on this project.