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Chilled water-based cooling systems account for significant energy consumption and maintenance costs in large commercial premises. As an individual component of the HVAC system, even a super-efficient chiller plant cannot meet ambitious energy targets on its own. A robust chiller plant optimization system driven by a smart building platform is the key to achieving peak efficiency and performance.
Improving efficiency requires understanding how efficient your equipment is currently. This is accomplished by calculating the coefficient of performance (COP)—the ratio of the refrigeration effect produced by the chiller to the amount of electrical energy consumed for refrigeration. Each chiller has a different COP and varies with the cooling load.
Most chiller plants run more efficiently at part load and at optimum efficiency at 40-60% of their peak capacities. However, many variables impact efficiency, including:
Calculating COP and evaluating the impact of these variables in your building is a good starting point for building owners seeking to reduce energy consumption.
Strategies for Improving Efficiency
Different buildings present different opportunities for improvement, but there are common threads. Some of the best chiller plant optimization system strategies include:
The objective of a chiller plant optimization system is to control the cooling load. Most modern chiller control panels provide detailed operating data on cooling loads and operational efficiency. But the potential this data holds can only be fully unleashed through integration and advanced analytics. Integrated smart building platforms that continuously analyzes energy usage, correlate chiller performance with other building functions, identify areas of concern, and recommend solutions that should be the heart of any chiller plant optimization system.
onPoint is a cloud-based smart building platform that gives you greater insight and control over the cooling load and the complex variables that affect it. By analyzing historical and real-time data from all connected equipment, this powerful software will:
It can also play a central role in transforming chiller plants into revenue-generating pieces of equipment via VPPs.
Advances in technology are making siloed systems a thing of the past. When you embrace integration and smart building software, you are making a wise investment in the future of your building.
Laura draws on her experience in commercial real estate to cover trends in occupancy, indoor air quality and operational efficiency.