Saturday, 14 February 2015

Proving Emerging Chiller Technologies

SETTY, a leader in the field of high performing buildings, was recently chosen by the General Services Administration(GSA) to provide MEP design, controls integration, and commissioning services for an innovative 12-month comparison study of competing chiller technologies.  This effort is part of the GSA's Green Proving Ground (GPG) program, which is evaluating emerging building technologies in real-world settings and providing recommendations for their deployment across GSA's nationwide real estate portfolio.  The study site is the 5 story, 133-year-old Sidney Yates Building, located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

A joint effort between SETTY, Maryn Construction, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, this ongoing study is evaluating the technical performance and cost effectiveness of a variable-speed screw chiller compressor, one of only nine emerging technologies selected in 2014 for GPG evaluation.  The baseline for comparison is being provided by a magneticlevitation (Maglev) chiller compressor, a proven technology that was the subject of a 2013 GPG study.  Two chiller units—one variable-speed screw and one Maglev, both having identical capacity—are being installed side by side in the Yates building, and performance metrics for both units will be carefully monitored for the duration of the study.

Setty's engineers and commissioning experts are leveraging their expertise in high performing building design to ensure that the two competing chillers are installed in a manner that allows for a fair performance comparison and that efficiently serves the cooling needs of the  approximately 200,000 sf Yates building.  From field survey to design of new water pumps, variable frequency drives, a new advanced energy metering system, and a new central plant BAS, our engineers are customizing the installations to allow each chiller to operate at optimal efficiency. 

Once installation is complete, Oak Ridge will monitor and verify the study results.  Due to the variable-speed screw chiller compressor's ability to operate with high efficiency at partial cooling loads, the new technology is expected to outperform current ASHRAE efficiency standards by as much as 44%.  Other anticipated advantages include simplified operations and maintenance, and a short payback period—as low as 3 years according to manufacturer estimates.  The performance of the variable-speed screw chiller is expected to compare favorably with that of the Maglev chiller.  Study results are expected in 2016.

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