Refrigeration accounts for a high proportion of overall site energy costs, most notably cooling for food, drink, chemical and pharmaceutical processes where up to 90% of energy costs can be accounted for by refrigeration.
According to the Carbon Trust, “energy saving doesn’t need to be expensive – up to 20% can be cut in many refrigeration plants through actions which require little or no investment.”
Here are our top 5 tips for helping to reduce costs associated with your process or comfort cooling:
- Keep your chilled system maintained frequently
Planned preventative maintenance carried out effectively by qualified engineers will help to mitigate the risk of downtime. The frequency of this should be in line with how often the equipment is used and how critical it is to operations.
The expense of replacing parts that could have delivered a higher lifetime value, the time it takes to wait for the part and the subsequent multiple engineer call-outs, plus the cost to your business from downtime will far outweigh the cost of a preventative maintenance plan.
Outsourcing your chiller plant maintenance could help to free-up your internal resource and reduce your costs too.
- Carry out water quality checks and treatment
Your chilled system water needs to be treated with the correct dose of high quality inhibited glycol to protect from freezing, bacteria build-up and corrosion.
Taking samples of your system water as part of your planned preventative maintenance programme and carrying out pH tests will help you to determine the quality. If the water samples fall outside of the recommended pH level, a water treatment programme can be followed to correct the problem.
This could save you the cost of a breakdown and replacement of equipment and pipework.
- Upgrade your chiller to a high-efficiency, Eco-Design compliant model
The average lifespan of a chiller is dependent on how heavily it’s used and how well it is maintained. Manufacturing process chillers for example, tend to be used much more heavily than a chiller for comfort purposes.
As a guiding principle, if your chiller for process cooling is 8-10 years+, it is worth considering more recent high-efficiency equivalents such as the i-Chiller HE range which could save on your energy costs, maintenance costs and provide greater reassurance with a new 5-year warranty.
In 2018 Eco-Design compliance legislation comes into force for refrigeration, so whatever you decide to replace with, ensure that your supplier can offer a compliant solution.
- Relocate your chiller plant externally and use a free cooling coil
As autumn and winter approach and the ambient temperature drops, preparing to capitalise on free cooling could save you up to 70% on your energy costs. As soon as the ambient temperature drops 1°C below your desired operating temperature, you can utilise partial free cooling to cool your process.
You can read more about free cooling here.
- Replace cooling towers
Cooling towers are expensive to run, maintain and waste a lot of water. They also require legionella risk assessments annually due to the large volume of water they use.
To put this in monetary terms, for every £39k spent running a cooling tower, you would expect to spend £10k running an adiabatic cooler – providing a saving of around 75%.
And if the saving of money alone isn’t enough, you could seriously boost your environmental credentials too. For every 70 buckets of water used by a cooling tower, you would expect to use 1 with an adiabatic cooler – saving you 93% on your water costs and conserving a vital resource. A legionella assessment typically costs £2k per annum, plus the increased risk posed to your employees. Replacing your cooling towers will save you this cost annually and reduce your health and safety risks.
For more information on how we can help reduce your cooling costs and improve the longevity of your plant, please call us on 0800 774 7426.