Replacing a chiller or air handler with a more efficient unit is a complex process with many moving parts. But such projects are essential for institutional and commercial facilities looking to improve energy efficiency, control utility costs and operate more sustainably, according to an article from Facilities Maintenance Decisions on the FacilitiesNet website.
Recent projects at the Vanderbilt University illustrate the steps Randy Hurt, P.E., a facility engineer and his team have taken in the process of successful equipment replacement.
For example, replacing 50-year-old air handling units in two campus buildings offered the chance to incorporate new energy-saving measures. The university also took advantage of new technology, such as fanwalls, to improve redundancy and service availability.
“The old existing units were constant volume,” Hurt says. “We used variable-speed motors on the new units to match fan output to load, saving fan energy. The new direct-drive plug fans eliminate belts and give easy-to-maintain flow measurements with piezo rings in supply and return fans.”