Choosing a process chiller for your HVAC needs can be quite the hassle. There are so many different types of HVAC systems out there. Systems include rooftop units, variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems, geothermal or air-source heat pumps, and many others. With all of the options available to manufacturers, process chillers still seem to be the HVAC system of choice for large commercial buildings and other facilities. But the process chiller’s popularity has not stopped competing technologies from trying to gain the top spot by manufacturers. Process chillers offer design flexibility, better comfort, and lower total life-cycle costs – all of which can make them a perfect choice for high-performance buildings.
Choosing Your Chiller
The main concern with any building is energy efficiency, which is the process chiller’s best quality. Water cooled chillers with capacities of 400 tons are more efficient than any other mechanical cooling technology. Water-cooled chillers can also function over a wide operating envelope. Warmer water temperatures with a cooling tower can increase energy savings. Air-cooled chillers can minimize your compressor run time, which will also increase energy savings. Process chillers are the most efficient choice when deciding how to get the best performance, sustainability, functionality, productivity, and cost efficiency.
Pricing and Advances
The cost of HVAC equipment can be a scary thing to building owners, but process chillers can relieve some of this fear, depending on the size and type of the system. Today, air and water cooled chillers offer the flexibility to minimize cost while providing the maximum return on investment. Today’s chillers focus on improving efficiency where needed. Proper scheduled maintenance of a chiller can also expand the life of your equipment, saving you money in the long run.
Heat recovery is an aspect of a chiller system that can be great in a high-performance building. Chillers with heat recovery reduce the amount of power needed to reject heat while reducing the amount of purchased heat required. This can reduce operating costs and lower the emissions output through the reduction of burned fossil fuels, such as natural gas.
Free Cooling / Energy Storage
Free cooling and thermal energy storage are additional chiller system advancements that are great options for high-performance building owners. Free cooling is a refrigerant migration feature that can provide up to 45 percent of the nominal chiller capacity without running the compressor, which can reduce energy use and annual operating expenses. An energy storage system is a chiller that gets very cold and produces ice during off hours. This energy is then used to help cool buildings during the daytime hours. Ice-enhanced cooling systems use less electricity, reducing costs and also helping the environment.
There are so many reasons building owners and managers should consider process chillers for their high-performance buildings. Chiller technology keeps advancing and the opportunities for energy efficiency are sure to keep improving.