Does your facility’s fluid cooling system really require chilled water?

Over the last 25 years there has been a heightened awareness to reduce the consumption of both water and energy. Federal, state and local laws, rising costs of water and energy, and a growing need to reduce operational costs have pushed this awareness to the forefront of all industries. Most companies are trying to cut expenses and become more efficient. It’s smart business and it’s urgent.

Water and energy are not an unlimited resource. And as regulations concerning the use and disposal of water have intensified, industrial applications that utilize both resources have come under scrutiny. One such application is industrial fluid cooling, which consumes as much as 7 percent of the energy and 15 percent of America’s water consumption (excluding the energy-generation industry).

While this high water usage makes industrial fluid cooling a prime target for energy and water conservation, the rush to reduce or eliminate it has in many instances actually increased energy consumption. Inappropriate fluid cooling, particularly the misapplication of chillers for cooling many industrial processes and equipment, has led to a large increase in fluid cooling costs and widespread inefficiency.

In the manufacturing industry, nearly all industrial facilities utilize chillers in some capacity, typically operating with an average water temperature ranging from 45°F – 60°F. But the question begs to be asked … is utilizing chilled water always the best choice? Creating a cold temperature, in general, is an expensive use of energy. Therefore, cooling temperatures below what is necessary has a direct relationship to an increase in costs.

By simply increasing the amount of water, it is well documented that many fluid cooling applications can operate successfully with cooling media temperatures between 70°F – 90°F. This temperature variance makes it possible to utilize other fluid cooling technologies, such as dry cooling or evaporative cooling, which would result in a reduction in energy costs, as well as a reduction or elimination of the use of water.

If a facility is to increase efficiency by reducing in energy and water usage, then fluid cooling applications need to be evaluated based on the highest allowable cooling media temperature. The increase in cost to supply additional water flow to an application would be quickly offset by either reducing the chiller load or eliminating additional chiller capacity.

Building managers can find out about alternative fluid cooling technologies and applications by simply conducting a fluid cooling audit. Engineers can evaluate how to maximize the performance, reliability and efficiency of a fluid cooling system. As experts examine each application, they can also determine the suitability of utilizing higher-temperature fluid cooling media.

Every single degree costs money. By learning how to improve efficiencies through an energy audit, businesses can reap the rewards of taking charge of their facility costs.

Ron Nordby Vice President, Sales and Marketing John Henry Foster 651-681-5724

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