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Lower Multi-Family Building Energy Bills by Maximizing Chiller Efficiency

by Patti Althoff - Siwicki | Aug 01, 2018 | Property Manager, HVAC, Facility Manager, HVAC Maintenance, Chiller, Commercial Building | 0 Comments

air cooled chiler 2

If your multi-unit residential building in Chicago has a chiller, you might be surprised to know that operating it at full-capacity may not be the most efficient way to run your cooling system, and it could be costing your building money in the form of higher energy bills. In fact,  AchrNews states that chillers can account for as much as 50 percent of the utility usage in your residential multi-unit building. Thankfully, there are things you can do to maximize your chiller’s energy efficiency.

1. Check Your Chiller Water Temperature

The temperature of the chiller water in your commercial HVAC system can have a dramatic effect on the efficiency of your unit. According to The Cooperator, commercial buildings and facilities should make sure the chiller water is 45 degrees in order to maximize cooling efficiency and ensure indoor comfort.

2. Automatically Adjust Chiller Water Temperature According to Outdoor Temperature

In the early summer and late summer, it may be possible to perform either a manual or automatic outdoor reset of your chiller water temperature without affecting your indoor comfort. Getting the chiller water settings correct for your building may require some trial and error, but once the settings are known, you should be able to automatically set your chiller water temperature according to the outside temperatures. Just remember that this won’t be possible during the hottest days of the year.

3. Consider not Running Your Chiller at 100 Percent of Its Load Capacity

Commercial HVAC chillers may not be energy efficient when they are running at 100 percent of their designed load capacity. In general, most chillers are energy efficient when they are running between 70 and 75 percent of their load capacity. This setting should help lower your energy bills while still keeping your interior spaces cool and comfortable.

4. Document the Operation of Your Commercial HVAC System

When you are trying to find the optimal settings for chiller efficiency and indoor comfort, it is important to document everything regarding your HVAC system’s operation and to review that information at regular intervals so that you can make timely adjustments. Most commercial facilities in Chicago have software that automatically logs chiller activity, but many property managers and maintenance supervisors forget to review that information on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

5. Consider a Building Automation System (BAS)

Building Automation Systems (BAS) can help you precisely monitor and control your commercial HVAC system. Depending on the design, it can give you information on building temperatures, HVAC operation temperatures and chiller temperatures as well as pressures. It can also be used to program and control temperatures throughout the building according to the time of day and building occupancy levels.

6. Remember to Utilize Preventative Maintenance

Commercial HVAC preventative maintenance can also help you save money on your energy bills by ensuring there are no worn or broken parts that could be causing your HVAC to be working harder than normal. It also helps ensure that the correct additives are added to your chiller water in order to prevent the growth of bacteria, like Legionella, and it can lower your risk of experiencing HVAC pipe corrosion and leaks or clogs within the system.

Improving Your Chiller Efficiency with Althoff

Considering chillers can comprise as much as 50 percent of your energy costs, you could save a significant amount of money by improving your commercial HVAC system’s chiller efficiency. Here at Althoff, serving Chicago, we can evaluate your current HVAC system and recommend ways to improve its efficiency. Some of our commercial HVAC services include having the appropriate humidity and temperature control devices, installing occupancy and CO2 sensors, performing energy-efficient retrofits and performing air and water testing and balancing. We also install and upgrade BAS systems.

To learn more about how we can help you lower your energy bills through HVAC system upgrades and retrofits, call us at 800-225-2443.

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