The Cool Sense program, the latest project undertaken by the Applications Team, aims to bring information about integrated chiller retrofits to the people in charge of the 80,000 chillers in the United States currently using CFC refrigerants.
Production of CFC refrigerants ceased in 1996 as a result of an international agreement to limit their effects on the atmosphere's ozone layer. This moratorium is expected to bring about an unprecedented wave of 20,000 chiller replacements or conversions by the year 2000. If no integrated retrofits are made, the capital investment needed to replace these chillers will be $1.8 billion, for a savings of $5 billion over the lifetime of the chillers. If only half the replacements are made in conjunction with integrated retrofits, the investment will be $7.89 billion, but the lifetime savings will increase to $25 billion. The payback period will also be short-5 years with integrated retrofits versus 6 years without. Although the capital investment increases fourfold, the monetary savings reduced energy use increase fivefold for a savings of $25 billion dollars over the chiller's lifetime.
What is an integrated chiller retrofit? Simply put, it means implementing the load and system improvement opportunities in a building when replacing or converting the chiller. Many buildings can benefit from new technologies that reduce the cooling loads on a building (efficient lighting and appliances) and decrease chiller plant energy consumption (variable-frequency drives, direct digital controls, and proper commissioning and operation). These changes not only reduce the energy needed for cooling, but often allow the chiller to be downsized for even more savings. The added energy savings from an integrated retrofit also make chiller replacements more economically viable. Even though integrated retrofits require a much larger capital investment, their payback period is less than that of chiller replacement.
Responding to the recognized need to encourage and provide information about integrated chiller retrofits, the Cool Sense program is spreading the word in three ways: through a World Wide Web site, regional workshops, and a national forum.
The Cool Sense Web site will serve as a clearinghouse for information about CFCs, chillers, system and load improvements, economics, case studies, rebate programs, and seminars and conferences related to integrated retrofits. The URL is: http://ateam.lbl.gov/coolsense
The regional workshops explain the concepts and benefits of integrated chiller retrofits to facilities managers. Each workshop covers the basics of integrated retrofits and includes regional case studies, a panel of local utility representatives, and perhaps a tour of a local facility. A workshop took place in Boston in early April; others are tentatively scheduled in Denver, Iowa, and New Jersey this summer.
The national forum will bring experts in integrated chiller retrofits together with those wishing to learn more. This two-day forum will have a technical track and a market transformation track and is tentatively scheduled for September in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Energy Analysis Program
(510) 486-7334; (510) 486-6996 fax
The Cool Sense project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the General Services Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.