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Key Issues Reducing operating cost Benefiting from electric deregulation Reducing Emergency Power Equipment Costs Reducing life-cycle cost
ospitals and medical facilities are intense users of air conditioning around the clock. Given todays need for reducing medical costs, finding an economical cooling system is essential. Many large and small hospitals across the US are already using absorption chillers as the most practical way to meet this need. Some of the hospitals using absorption chillers include: Jamaica Hospital (Queens, NY), Loyola Medical Center (Maywood, IL), Methodist Medical Center (Indianapolis, IN), Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center (Bronx, NY), Resurrection Medical Center (Chicago, IL), Sherman (Elgin, IL), St. Lukes Hospital (Maumee, OH), St. Joseph Medical Center (Joliet, IL), and Scripps Clinic (San Diego, CA). Absorption chillers not only address all of the key issues listed above but also offer other benefits discussed on the reverse page. These chillers are available from the major manufacturers of cooling equipment, including Trane, York International, Carrier, Dunham-Bush, McQuay, American Yazaki, Broad U.S.A., and Robur.

Reduces operating cost The cost of electricity to large commercial customers is based on power demand and electric energy consumption. Power demand charges for electric chillers can be even greater than electric energy consumption charges. Absorption chillers reduce operating costs by significantly reducing power demand and electric energy consumption, and by switching to low-cost natural gas as the primary energy source.

Increases capability to benefit from electric deregulation If a hospital only uses electric chillers, it cannot benefit from the time-ofuse and real-time electric rates or from the low cost of natural gas. A combination of absorption and electric chillers provides the capability to deal with uncertain future energy rates. In such hybrid chiller plants, absorption chillers are used as the lead chillers when electric rates are high. The chiller sequencing is reversed when the electric rates are low. Hybrid plants also provide the capability to maintain level power demand and electric consumption. This capability is beneficial for negotiating the best rate in the deregulated electric energy market.

Reduces emergency power equipment cost Each ton of absorption chiller capacity reduces the emergency generator set capacity required by approximately 0.6 to 0.8 kW, resulting in diesel generator installed cost savings between $240 to $320. These savings reduce total system cost for an absorption chiller to even less than the total system cost for an electric chiller, when the cost of the emergency power equipment to operate the chiller is included.

Reduces life-cycle cost Even though the equipment cost of an absorption chiller is higher than that for an electric chiller, the life-cycle cost of the absorption chiller is often lower because of the significant savings in energy cost over its useful life of more than 20 years.


Absorption chillers Absorption chillers use water as a natural, environmentally benign refrigerant for providing cooling. These chillers use natural gas directly or indirectly. The indirect heat sources these chillers use include low- and high-pressure steam and hot water. Estimate your savings from using an absorption chiller Absorption chillers significantly reduce power demand and electric consumption charges and use low-cost natural gas. You can estimate your own savings from an absorption chiller by using the worksheet below for your energy rate schedule. Hybrid chiller plants Modern chiller plants often feature a mix of absorption and electric chillers. Such hybrid plants use absorption chillers as the lead chillers, and electric chillers as the lag or back-up chillers, when electric rates are high. When electric rates are low, the electric chillers are used as the lead chillers. Thus, hybrid plants provide the capability to deal with uncertain future energy rates. These plants also provide the capability to maintain level power demand and electric energy consumption. This capability is beneficial for negotiating the best rate in the deregulated electric energy market. Improved boiler operability and efficiency Hospitals always have a requirement for steam throughout the year to operate sterilizers, leaving a large heating boiler operating at extremely low load during the summer. The use of steam-fired absorption chillers increases the summer steam load, makes the boilers easier to operate and increases fuel efficiency.

Refrigerant issues A new chiller is a 20-year investment. The changing nature of refrigerant regulations makes the use of a natural refrigerant, such as the water used in absorption chillers, very attractive. Whats new in absorption chillers? Modern absorption chillers feature new electronic controls that provide quick start-up and make crystallization a thing of the past. Many new absorbers purge automatically, feature greater turndown capability than many electric chillers, and can operate at elevated cooling tower temperatures, allowing the use of the same size cooling towers as those for the electric chillers. Maintenance contracts and extended warranties With highly automated operation and few moving parts, absorption chillers are quieter and require minimal maintenance. Maintenance contracts and extended warranties are also available on absorption chillers at costs similar to those for the electric chillers. Are absorption chillers being used now? Many hospitals across the US are already benefiting from the use of absorption chillers. Case studies for some of these hospitals and information on the manufacturers of absorption chillers are available at the Web site of the Energy Solutions Center Inc. ( For more information, contact your gas company representative, a cooling equipment manufacturers representative, or The Gas Technology Institute (


Your energy rates Electric energy charge Electric demand charge Gas cost _____ $/kWh _____ $/kW _____ $/therm x x x

Change in usage* 1,061,800 kWh 2,260 kW 205,500 therms

Annual cost savings = $ ______________/Yr. = plus $ __________/Yr. = minus $ _________/Yr. Total savings = $ ______________/Yr.

*On the basis of a 500,000 sq. ft. hospital in New York, NY. Calculations assume three centrifugal electric chillers used to meet a total load of 1140 tons and illustrate the savings available from converting only the lead chiller to a 380-ton, steamheated double-effect absorption chiller. The incremental installed cost for this chiller will be about $65,000. An absorption chiller of this capacity requires about 220kW less power compared to an electric centrifugal chiller. Therefore, if emergency power equipment (costing about $400/kW) is required, the absorption chiller will save $88,000 for the installed cost of the power generation equipment. Therefore, capital cost of the absorption chiller including backup power cost will be even lower than that for the electric chiller. Calculations for this worksheet were performed using the Gas Cooling Guide software only for the purpose of preliminary analysis. Detailed analysis must be performed for the specific building and location before final design and decision.

Rev. 6/15/04

GRI-00/0092 2004 GTI All rights reserved