Category: The best combination of system components

Chiller Optimization vs. “Make it Work”

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Technological innovations have drastically changed the business environment over the past decade from the introduction of email and cell phones to tablet computers and drones. This trend has also made its way to chilled water plants with greater focus on increasing plant efficiency. Yet, chiller plant design has remained relatively unchanged since the mid-1970s. The primary/secondary system remains a “go-to” configuration since the strategy manages to sufficiently meet the demand of a building, but has no regard for efficiency. So, if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Energy savings- a lot of them. Chilled water not used by the load will always flow through the bypass valve and blend with warm water returning from the load. This blending raises return temperatures and makes the equipment work harder than necessary to maintain the setpoint. The inefficiencies caused by these central plant designs leave a lot of money on the table that can be captured with more innovative designs that reduce the electrical energy needed to produce chilled water.

Since these primary/secondary systems are still being designed and built today despite more efficient alternatives, tekWorx has developed an “Integrated Primary/Secondary” retrofit design (IPS®) to revitalize central plant efficiency with minimal capital expenditure. The IPS® approach eliminates bypass flow and therefore blending to control energy expenditures. Automation and controls work together, continuously monitoring demand, to ensure the best combination of system components are used to optimize plant kW/ ton. tekWorx focuses on controlling these central plants with minimally invasive procedures that deliver maximum energy savings.

To find out how tekWorx can optimize your chiller plant, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

 

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.

HVAC Retrofit Best Practices

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Replacing an HVAC System can become an expensive and time-consuming process with heavy potential for disruptions to normal building operations and can consume endless amounts of time if not done correctly. When putting a plant upgrade strategy together around retrofitting chilled water systems, there are 8 factors that executives should consider to ensure optimal results. tekWorx incorporates these best practices into every retrofit situation, fully addressing each factor’s influence on the overall success of the project, including in-kind replacement, new technologies, flexibility, the big picture, and program approval.

In-kind Replacement

It can be tempting to replace an outdated HVAC system with a new model that matches the criteria of the old system- if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, this approach may not solve the cooling production issues seen in the plant. During an HVAC system’ s useful life, a building can change dramatically as building space gets used for different functions than originally intended, and the size of the work force and computing equipment occupying the space fluctuates. Any retrofit strategy needs to take into account the current needs of the facility and, from a cost perspective, addressing these needs while utilizing the greatest amount of existing equipment. In doing so, a favorable payback can be achieved.

New Technologies and Flexibility

Technical updates designed to increase energy efficiency are being launched on a daily basis. From high-efficiency chillers to VFDs, everything promises better energy performance. One of the greatest advances in HVAC technologies has been BAS networks that orchestrate all aspects of the chilled water system, limiting unnecessary tweaking and manual labor.

The Big Picture and Program Approval

Companies tend to fall into the human behavior trap wherein they develop tunnel vision, focusing on a specific issue or portion of the chilled water production that seems to be causing the greatest problem. While understandable, other projects and factors affecting the cooling system operation are important to review. A simple way to do this is via an energy audit; energy audits often bring forth the real culprit of inefficiencies and shouldn’t be particularly expensive or time-consuming processes. Done well, these audits touch on the funding components and support retrofit projects holistically rather than patching components together to keep the system running.

tekWorx Approach

tekWorx takes these critical factors and more into consideration for every client. In-kind replacement is a thing of the past since tekWorx focuses on the current needs of the building and the best ways to increase overall energy efficiencies. New technologies such as PLC-based systems work with customized algorithms and VFDs to ensure that the best combination of system components are working to meet load requirements. tekWorx also places heavy emphasis on favorable paybacks (< 2yrs.), utilizing energy incentives through utility companies and government programs.

To find out how much tekWorx can save in your chilled water plant, fill our our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.

Direct Control and Supervisory Control

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“Plant modifications”, “updates” and “conversions” are phrases that often make plant personnel nervous. Which modifications will bring about the greatest and longest lasting results? What do I have to give up to get the latest and greatest? How much is this going to disrupt the plant and my day-to-day? Will this really save energy?

tekWorx gets it. Working with complex systems that demand different automation techniques and design depending on client’s budgets, time frames, and permitted levels of disruption, tekWorx has seen it all and has you covered. Whether the system needs to be converted from manual operation to automated control or sequence updates need to be implemented for energy efficiency gains, tekWorx CEO® uses custom algorithms to improve any chilled plant’s operations.

In a world with emphasis on short paybacks, shrinking budgets, and long term environmental impacts, tekWorx engineers are practical and pragmatic experts and ensuring clients invest only in what they really need- both in engineering and equipment. As such, there are two overarching approaches in which tekWorx retrofits chilled water plants with its PLC based CEO® system.

When working with a plant that has no Building Automation System (BAS) or has a control system that is too outdated to produce the desired efficiency gains, tekWorx CEO® acts as a BAS for the entire chilled water plant; this is known as the Direct Control Engine. The CEO® then orchestrates all cooling related components (pumps, fans, cooling towers, valves, etc.), ensuring that the best combination of system components are being used to minimize kW per ton.

The second optimization approach is the Supervisory Control configuration, common when the existing BAS system (SCI, Siemens, ALC, etc.) is in good shape. In this set up, the CEO® and BAS coordinate over the plant’s BAS network to control and optimize the plant, sending real time data back and forth to ensure components are operating at maximum efficiency.

In either configuration, tekWorx uses a model to begin, but builds on that by using adaptive control algorithms that make adjustments based on actual system conditions to truly optimize chilled water production.

To find out more information on tekWorx CEO® and adaptive control for energy efficiency, fill out our Chiller Plant Evalution Form.

Mission Critical Is Not Mission Impossible for tekWorx

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Reliance on technology in both our personal and professional lives continues to grow exponentially. Without immediate access to telecommunication or data, businesses dependent upon technical operations can experience financial catastrophe. From a mechanical perspective, these mission critical systems are all fighting against their greatest threat- overheating. Unfortunately, this foe is often addressed in ways that waste energy and trigger unnecessarily high energy costs.

A common cause of plant inefficiencies is low ∆ T, a condition that forces the CHW pumps to work harder than necessary to produce the needed cooling. The issues compounds itself as operators simply turn on an additional chiller when one is actually enough to ensure cooling needs are met if it is sequenced properly. Working to optimize these chiller sets is of vital importance to mission critical systems, particularly in cases where there isn’t an additional chiller to turn on or the CapEx budget for new equipment doesn’t exist.

tekWorx hydronic AND mechanical expertise has created innovative solutions that address the complexity of these mission critical systems by continually sequencing the best combination of systems components. tekWorx adaptive control algorithms optimize the system, lowering kW/ton and eliminating unnecessary equipment wear and tear to drastically improve chiller average efficiency. The best part? Mission critical facilities experience very little, if any, downtime during the tekWorx changeovers. tekWorx uses innovative approaches to phase into the retrofit so there is no disruption to the cooling system.

To find out how tekWorx can implement adaptive algorithms to cut energy costs with minimal plant disruption, fill out our Chiller Plant Evaluation Form.