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Valve control to major savings
February 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm
Climate Control Middle East analyses cooling optimisation through combined VSP and PICV installations
As topics go in a region that captures just one percent of the world’s available fresh water, yet hosts 5% of the world’s population, the
issue of energy consumption doesn’t get much hotter.
Add international climatic pressure, existing and incoming regional strategic targets and a shiny new end-user driven business model
to the mix, and in-depth evaluation of energy efficiencies becomes compelling.
The design, construction, operation and maintenance of cities and communities has a huge impact on natural resources and the
environment. The challenge is to build smart throughout the supply chain.
With this in mind, Climate Control Middle East paid a visit to Technoflow at its testing and development laboratory, headquartered in
Dubai. Below we bring you straight forward information on how HVAC energy savings can be achieved through a combination of
variable speed pumps, PICVs, pressure sensors and control valves.
Fig 1. Varying conditions in a system with pump
pressure controlled to maintain constant pressure at
system extremities (Source: CIBSE KS 7)
Until recently the majority of large chilled or heated water based air conditioning systems were designed for constant flow and
utilised three or four port temperature valves to divert the required amount of water flow through in room heat exchangers, such as
fan coils. The local heating or cooling load is influenced by a number of factors including the outside air temperature which will vary
over the year and therefore, cooling or heating degree days vary over the year as outside air temperature changes.
Cooling or heating water, whilst providing an effective method of indoor climate control by pumping it around a building, if the heat
exchanger is bypassed at the last moment without extracting the absorbed heat, this is extremely wasteful in energy. As the full
heating or cooling load on a building occurs for 5% or less of the year, it is extremely important to match the power absorbed into a
heating or cooling system to the actual load placed upon it.
Manufacturers of pumps, fans and other equipment have successfully utilised variable speed drives that can slow motors to reduce
power consumption at periods of low demand.
By combining variable speed pumps and two port temperature control valves (that throttle closed rather than divert through a bypass
port) together with pressure sensors and pump controllers, a water based air conditioning system can operate under variable flow
conditions in response to the varying heating and cooling loads on the building.
Due to the pump affinity laws, if pump speed is reduced to 25% of its maximum then the flow is also reduced to 25%, the pump head
is reduced to 6.25% and the pump power output is reduced to only 1.6% (i.e. 0.25% of 6.25%) of its maximum. Actual pump power
consumption (electrical energy) is likely to be a little higher than 1.6% due to a reduction in pump efficiency, as shown in Fig 1., but
this will be marginal.
Unfortunately there are unwanted pressure fluctuations in the pipework as pumps change speed and two port valves open and close
in a variable flow system. These result in underflows and overflows and corresponding undercooling and heating or overcooling and
heating at the part load condition. However, this unwanted side effect can be managed by careful use of differential pressure control
valves or the installation of pressure independent balancing & control valves at each of the in room heat exchangers.
A recent study conducted by Frese and Grundfos in Denmark demonstrated that when a variable speed pump, end point pump sensor
Climate Control Middle East Valve control to major savings
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and pressure independent balancing & control valves (see Fig. 4) were installed on a typical variable flow system then 76% of
electrical pump energy consumption could be saved relative to the same system fitted with a constant speed pump and manual
balancing valves.
Furthermore overflows and underflows were eradicated and supply and return water temperatures were guaranteed as the system
remained dynamically balanced at all load conditions.
Despite the dramatic savings in pump electrical energy consumption, this is only half of the story, due to beneficial effect of
maximising ∆T (the difference between system supply and return temperature). The energy consumption of a chilled water cooling
system is comprised of three main parts, i) the energy cost to chill the water, ii) the energy cost to pump the water around the system
and iii) the energy loss from the return pipework.
It is also very important to maintain a high ∆T in efficient heating systems in order for condensing boilers to work in condensing
mode at all load conditions.
Fig 4. Variable speed pump with end
point control and pressure independent
balancing & control valves
The cost to operate the chiller can typically account for as much 40% of the energy use in cooling systems but their efficient
operation is often impaired due to elevated return temperatures caused by overflows in variable systems or blending of supply and
return water in primary headers or through chillers that have been staged off.
Furthermore, on large distribution systems, the heat losses from lengthy return pipework can be minimised if the return temperature is
maintained as close to atmospheric temperature as possible.
Pressure independent balancing & control valves maintain system design ∆T at all load conditions and eradicate losses through
inefficient chillers working when they are not required and by minimising the temperature gradient to atmosphere in the return
pipework to the plantroom.

Climate Control Middle East Valve control to major savings
2 of 2 2/19/2014 10:37 AM