Brady Blog- Trends and Talk

Understanding the EarthWise design philosophy to improve building performance

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One of the goals of many building owners is to have an efficient and well run building that contributes to the overall business mission. They are concerned with life costs and system performance of one of the largest capital assets, the building’s HVAC system.

The Benefits of an EarthWise Design Approach

EarthWise systems are sustainable systems that deliver measureable, superior performance at a lower operating cost. An EarthWise system performs at the highest levels of energy efficiency, reduces emissions of all types to the lowest possible level, and has a documented, sustainable performance.

EarthWise system design allows an owner to utilize today’s efficient equipment designed to operate seamlessly within the HVAC system. The increased efficiency of refrigeration systems allows an owner to optimize air and water flows and lower pump and energy fan use. By optimizing the system flow owners can reduce the size of fans, piping, pumps and ductwork resulting in a lowered first cost for the project.

In addition to adding the obvious, more efficient, equipment like Trane’s CenTraVac chiller, owners can utilize new products like CDQ (Cool Dry Quiet), plenum fans, thermal storage, wireless zone systems and parallel fan powered VAV boxes.

The addition of new flexible, prepackaged control systems with intuitive interfaces allow owners to increase sustainability of the system by using proven, optimized control sequences. Interactive dashboards remove the mystery from system operation and allow building managers to document building performance and energy savings.

Exciting things are happening in the world of system design. Learn more about Trane’s EarthWise Ice-enhanced Chiller Plant or Trane’s EarthWise Variable Air Systems.


Using Ice To Reduce Energy And Save Money

Friday, October 02, 2015

Air conditioning of commercial buildings during summer daytime hours is the largest single contributor to electrical peak demand. As more air conditioning is needed to maintain comfortable temperatures, the increased demand for electricity adds to the load already created by many other sources. This requires the electric suppliers to bring additional, more costly generating equipment on line to handle this increased demand. Commercial uses are charged more for this “On Peak” energy, either in the form of higher energy charge (kWh) or “Demand Charge” which is based on their highest on-peak demand (kW) for electricity. An effective way to combat these “On Peak” energy charges is to utilize, “Off Peak Cooling” (OPC).

The electric supplier’s generating capacity is typically under-utilized at night, and consequently, its rates are lowest then. A Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system takes advantage of low cost, off peak electricity, produced more efficiently throughout the night, to create and store cooling energy for use when rates are higher, typically during the day.

Ice Storage systems utilize a packaged chiller to produce ice during the night and store it in modular tanks. This stored ice provides cooling the following day to meet the building’s air conditioning load requirement. These systems not only dramatically reduce the use of peak period, high-cost energy, but they can also reduce total energy usage by 10%.

An Ice Storage system reduces the size of the building’s air conditioning equipment which can include chillers, cooling towers, pumps, and electrical service. For instance, with an Ice Storage system, a 100 ton chiller is able to do the job of a 200 ton chiller in a conventional system, which can add up to significant savings. The building occupants don’t notice any temperature difference, while building owner saves both money and energy.

So what type of building can benefit most from Thermal Energy Storage? Offices, schools, hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels are just a few examples. When these buildings incorporate the system during the design stage, thermal energy storage has initial costs comparable to traditional HVAC systems. Many installations achieve a net initial cost savings when compared to other choices. If Ice Storage is incorporated during an expansion or retrofit, the upfront costs for the tanks are rapidly offset by the savings in purchasing energy at the lowest possible rates. Most organizations see full payback in two to five years.

Giving “ice a try” can not only benefit the building owner, but also the energy providers, and the environment. Building Owners will see reduced energy and maintenance costs while seeing an increase in property value. Energy Providers will reduce peak electrical demands allowing them to produce more electricity at increased efficiencies while saving precious natural resources. Reduced fuel usage means less polluting emissions are released into the atmosphere, which is also a great benefit for our planet.

Ice storage is being used throughout the United States in large buildings such as libraries, universities, and office buildings. The Google office in New York City has recently transitioned to Thermal Energy Storage, as well as the Rockefeller Center. Here in North Carolina, Brady has installed Thermal Energy Storage systems in several buildings in Greensboro, including the J. Douglas Galyon Depot, Centenary United Methodist Church, Lawndale Baptist Church, and the Green Valley Office Park Business Center. Brady also installed systems in Johnston County Schools in Johnston County, North Carolina. Currently, thermal energy storage is used in the cooling systems of over 4,000 commercial buildings in more than 35 countries.