Tribune Tower Returns to Kroeschell to Modernize its Cooling System

The company installed the first stream-jet refrigeration system in the building in 1934.

About this project

In 1934, Kroeschell installed the first steam-jet refrigeration system in the Tribune Towers. When it came time to replace the current system in 2004, they called on Kroeschell again.


Replacing the vintage 1940′s cooling system in Chicago’s Tribune Towers posed a challenge that Kroeschell was eager to undertake. With the system more than 60 years old and located six floors beneath one of Chicago’s best-known landmarks, it was clear from the start that the project would be complex.


The first step involved dismantling and removing two 500-ton chillers and a larger 1,000-ton chiller piece by piece. Bringing in new equipment as well as removing old equipment proved to be a significant logistical challenge considering the only access was through a small freight elevator and an old coal chute. Kroeschell installed the new system within the budget and time constraints.

The new system consisted of:

  • Three Carrier 19XR centrifugal chillers (500-, 850- and 1000-tons)
  • Primary variable-flow chilled water system
  • Primary/secondary condenser water system
  • Three Bell & Gossett 125-horsepower chilled water pumps

Essentially, in one major operation, Kroeschell replaced the best technology of a different era with state-of-the-art equipment of today. Kroeschell Service didn’t stop after installation either, our service technicians continue to provide 24/7 onsite service and support.


Prior to this update, the old equipment was manually operated – requiring valves to be shut and opened by hand. Now, each new chiller and chilled water pump features a variable-speed drive for improved part-load efficiency and operation. The new assembly included three Bell & Gossett 100-horsepower river water pumps with variable speed drives that utilize Chicago River water for the rejection of heat from the chillers.

For the owners of the Chicago landmark, however, the most notable improvements arrived in the form of a substantially lighter monthly utility bill. Since the installation was completed, the Tribune Tower has reduced its monthly electrical bill by approximately $10,000 per month.

Today, Kroeschell provides complete onsite support. Our service technicians manage all aspects of operations, including everything from climate control to door hinges. The Tribune’s success is our number one goal, and that is why they have trusted Kroeschell for over 80 years.

Chilled Water Piping

More Information


Team Member Installs Chiller
Updated Hvac System At Tribune Tower

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