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Evaluation of a Chiller Plant
Sizing and selecting a replacement chiller based on sustainability considerations
for a high-base-load cooling application
By ARVIND AKELA, PE, CEM, LEED AP BD+C; CDM Smith Inc.; Walnut Creek, Calif. |
HPAC Engineering
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Sep 10, 2013

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The recommendations offer a solution that meets the
client’s corporate sustainability goals and reduces
energy costs significantly.

What is in this article?:
Evaluation of a Chiller Plant
Methodology
Chilled-Water Distribution System
Control Strategy for Variable Flow

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Conclusions

A client with a commitment to sustainability operates a three-story, 108,000-sq-ft
commercial building in San Jose, Calif. The majority of the building’s cooling load comes
from computers and high-power workstations that run continuously. The building is
served by a chiller plant consisting of three chillers:
• The new 160-ton-nominal-capacity Chiller 1, which was installed to replace a 150-ton
chiller.
• The 150-ton-nominal-capacity Chiller 2, which dates from the building’s late 1980s
construction.
• The 190-ton-nominal-capacity Chiller 3, which was installed approximately 10 years ago
to increase chiller-plant capacity. It shows wear and tear, but is reported to be in good
working condition.
Three 15-hp chilled-water pumps, each rated for 350 gpm, serve a closed-loop
chilled-water distribution system. In normal operation, two pumps and two chillers
(chillers 1 and 2) run to circulate an average of 700 gal. of chilled water per minute to
meet the building’s cooling load. In the pump room, a pressure-controlled bypass valve
between the supply and return pipes maintains constant flow through the pumps and
chillers. An override selector switch in the pump room provides three operating
combinations: chillers 1 and 2, chillers 2 and 3, and chillers 1 and 3.

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Because of its age and wear, Chiller 2 was targeted for replacement by the owner.
A recommendation that Chiller 2 be replaced with sustainable equipment that surpasses
code-mandated levels of efficiency and provides control strategies to improve chilledwater-plant energy efficiency was made. This article describes the analysis behind that
recommendation.
Methodology »

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