When you think of your cooling tower, the first thing that might come to mind is how it operates compared to how cool air is produced for your building. However, have you considered how managing the energy and temperature within the cooling tower can impact how much you pay for your cooling and utility bills?
By making educated adjustments to how you manage energy and temperature when operating your cooling tower, you can save money over the long term and run a more efficient operation. A good place to start reconsidering your system is in the following areas.
Reevaluate Your Refrigeration Equipment
HVAC-related units are only becoming more efficient as time goes on. If your cooling tower and its machinery has been around for a long time, you could be negatively impacted by equipment that is less efficient than it could be. New refrigeration units are modular, meaning that they contain multiple compressors that will turn on gradually in a sequence according to load.
While this tech can be expensive, it is a great choice for improving your system efficiency. If this is too far outside your budget, do not forget that even simple changes such as adding variable speed controls to your cooling tower can reduce the amount of energy consumed.
Adjust The System According To Outdoor Temperature
Cooling towers are powerful when it comes to providing a comfortable temperature. However, consider whether you truly need their robust cooling ability all of the time. When the weather cools down, your cooling tower can likely do its job just fine by adjusting to the outdoor temperature. In addition, installing passive outside-air heat exchangers can reduce some of the system load on a cooling tower to cut down on how much energy it consumes.
Do Not Forget Smart Energy Meters
One of the most powerful tools for energy management in a cooling tower is a smart energy meter. Installed at load feeders, these simple pieces of technology can allow you to remotely monitor your system and will learn about the way that your tower operates in order to make informed decisions about when to shut the system off.
Using algorithms that track your typical needs and usage, a smart energy meter will automatically power the system off to save energy when it does not need to be running. You can view the data collected by the meter in order to get a better understanding of how you use energy in your facility, and locations that rely on smart energy meters can experience savings anywhere from 10% to 60% of their former usage.
Utilize Sequencing and Staging to Reduce Load
One of the biggest drags on a cooling tower system is when everything is running at peak capacity at once. By utilizing sequencing or staging, you can separate your system into only the pieces that need to be running at any given time; as mentioned previously, a smart energy meter can do this for you.
Staging means that either a human or an energy meter evaluates variables such as the temperature outside and the current state of the system in order to determine the appropriate operating number of cooling towers to reduce unnecessary activation of equipment. This also prevents the system’s chillers from experiencing a surge as a result of a high load, saving you both time and the risk of damage to your system.
It is important to remember, too, that when you are evaluating your system to determine its efficiency, it is best to avoid making your calculations based on the peak load (which is often measured in kW/ton for your chillers). This peak number is almost never actually realized, and so a better calculation for more informed decision making would be the integrated or non-standard part-load value, from which you can choose your strategy appropriately based on the real usage of your system.
Trust The Experts To Help You Improve The Efficiency Of Your Cooling Tower
Whether you are unsure of how efficient your cooling tower is and would like some insight or you need more information about how to improve your energy management and temperature control within your system, be sure to trust the experts so that you do not have to tackle this project alone.
Tower Water specializes in water treatment and the management of cooling towers and would be happy to create a customized recommendation based on your specific system. Reach out to schedule an appointment to discuss your goals and the current state of your energy usage so that you can begin being more efficient—and in turn, saving money in both the short and long term.