Category: Chillers

Energy Efficiency Important As Ever

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As the United States Senate begins voting next week on a bill focused on energy, House Committees are looking to address issues that will boost energy efficiency in buildings, industries, and federal agencies. Energy efficiency remains a hot bed topic in governmental regulation and with businesses looking to decrease their energy costs. Globally, residential and commercial buildings account for 35 to 40 percent of total energy usage with commercial buildings consuming considerable energy in their HVAC systems, lighting, water heating, and other building automation systems. Worldwide retrofits aimed at decreasing energy consumption are expected to grow as an investment category from $68.2 billion in 2014 to $127.5 billion by 2023.

The primary use of energy within commercial buildings is in cooling production, 29 percent of which is consumed by chillers working to cool water temperatures to acceptable levels. Focusing on reducing the energy usage in equipment components, such as chillers, as well as in the overall systems will not only increase energy efficiency but improve profit margins in the process. tekWorx specializes in reigning in these energy guzzlers to optimize chilled water plants. tekWorx uses various innovative techniques to ensure the best combination of system components are being used to reduce kW per ton. By taking a holistic system approach and optimizing not only the chillers themselves, but the existing equipment within the central plant, overall cooling operations are drastically improved. To find out more on how tekWorx can optimize your chiller systems, check out our Results page.

Spring Cleaning: To Toss or Retrofit?

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Spring has finally arrived and facilities spring cleaning is underway! It’s no secret that when buildings need modifications, systems are fixed in the most cost-and time-effective manner. In doing so, the big-picture view of how one renovation affects other existing equipment can often be overlooked. Over time, this can result in a system that is way out of whack- building occupants complain, maintenance staff is overworked, and energy costs escalate.

Chillers, boilers, and air handling systems are some of the most retrofitted pieces of plant machinery. Constant tweaking and recalibrations can lead to larger problems that are addressed with band-aids and therefore easily resurface again in the future. Don’t get us wrong, retrofitting can recover lost capacity in existing chiller plants, revitalize equipment and increase energy efficiency. Identifying issues hidden within the chiller plant such as leaks, faulty wiring, or disabled sensors can be uncovered through basic energy audits, allowing for an optimized chiller plant without massive overhaul of equipment. The key, however, is to make sure all parts of the cooling puzzle are considered, including AHUs, cooling towers, pumps, and the like.

tekWorx specializes in retrofitting of existing facilities with a combination of proven techniques including automation controls and customized control sequences designed to ensure the plant is meeting demand in the most energy efficient way. The tekWorx CEO® ensures that no puzzle pieces are missed in the optimization of a chiller plant.

To find out more information on how tekWorx can retrofit your plant, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

Issues with Primary and Secondary Chiller Plants

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An energy efficient design is the last thing on a property owners’ mind during the construction of a chilled water plant. Typically, the chief concern revolves around keeping construction costs to a minimum, ignoring future utility costs and energy efficiency considerations that are critical once a building is fully functioning. Due to this altered focus, chiller systems have historically been built using the classically inefficient “primary/secondary” (P/S). This configuration simply makes sure the building doesn’t run out of cooling on the hottest day of the year and gives no consideration to the expense of this strategy.

With respect to energy, one of the greatest causes for concern with these P/S systems is what is known as blending. Blending occurs as the chilled water combines with warmer water, thereby decreasing the temperature of the return water into the chiller. Because the chillers outputs are spec’d based on a designated temperature set point, energy is being wasted as the system fights to maintain its set point with the influx of warmer water.

To combat this issue, tekWorx has developed an “Integrated Primary/Secondary” retrofit design (IPS®) that brings valuable primary energy benefits to existing primary/secondary systems. Depending upon the specifications of a system, the IPS® substantially improves flow and reduces blending. The IPS® requires minor mechanical/piping changes and control system modifications, keeping the overarching facility infrastructure intact with minimal interruption to the current cooling operations. To see how tekWorx IPS™ can improve your ∆ T, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

The Trouble with Temperature Control

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Delta, or ∆, is the word or symbol used to describe a difference between two related measurements. In the HVAC world, ∆ is used in reference to the difference between return and supply chilled water temperature. While the calculation to determine ∆ T is simple (T of return water less T of supply water), fluctuations in this number can have costly and complex repercussions in a chilled water plant.

Chiller plants are designed with the assumption that ∆ T will remain constant during the entire operating process. This ensures that the load is working efficiently to provide the necessary cooling requirements for the building or space. When the difference between return and supply water changes, the result can cause insufficient cooling loads. The common response to this condition is to bring on additional chillers in order to meet the load. As a result, there are circumstances where both pump energy and chiller energy unnecessarily increase to run two chillers. tekWorx hydronic and mechanical experts allows us to advise clients as to the most efficient chiller strategy. Depending on the facility, there are times when running two chillers is more efficient than one and vice versa. Further, tekWorx CEO® system unlocks the existing capacity in your plant so that you actually produce the cooling the chiller is designed to produce– that means you no longer have to bring on extra chillers before it’s time. For more information on how tekWorx can correct central plant ∆ T, check out Our Approach.