Thermal storage offers efficient cooling solution for commercial facilities

By Adam VanOort, DataNab

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Published in:

Energy Efficiency Made Simple Vol III: Energy and enviroFiciency
November 2012 - Chapter 6: pages 75 – 77

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Businesses that deal with extreme heat need to find a way to keep fully occupied facilities comfortable as temperatures spike, without going bankrupt by giving all of their money to the power company. The method of running air conditioners at a lower set-point through the morning and then dialing it back during the peak afternoon hours has tremendous downsides. It is terribly inefficient, and creates an environment where everyone is cold in the morning, becoming gradually hotter through the afternoon.

A better solution is to store cooling energy for use at a later time - a practice that has been implemented in a small number of facilities around the world. These systems typically use tanks of ice to store cooling; that cooling is gradually released into the building at specific times in the day (usually during peak demand periods). Referred to as ‘thermal storage’, the process involves creating cooling energy at night or in the morning when temperatures are low and power is cheap, and storing that cooling energy for use during the hotter peak demand periods. This would allow facilities to disable or supplement air conditioning when rates are most expensive.


Take note

  • Cooling is top of mind when it comes to energy efficiency.
  • The author used HTF Exotherm technology to turn a tank of water into ice – ensuring it could store a very large amount of cooling energy that could be used to cool his home.
  • Applying the design to commercial facilities would mean scaling the system to meet the facility’s cooling requirements.