Air cooled air conditioning units lose a large percentage of their rated efficiency at higher temperatures. Their SEER / EER ratings drop as temperatures rise. In most commercial rooftops around the USA are experiencing a phenomena called the “urban heat island” effect which causes the so called one size fits all design to become huge energy consumers. The efficiency of a water cooled air conditioner (evaporative water cooled unit) has a minimal drop and in the dryer regions the efficiency rises. Water removes heat from the condenser coils far more efficiently than air.

There several applications and designs now utilizing a water cooling tower to subcool the refrigerant in commercial air conditioning and refrigeration. Some are called hybrid cooling towers, these use Freon/Water Heat Exchangers to achieve the same energy saving technology. Several are designed to retro fit to existing HVAC systems. This units evaporative technology cools fluid, most the time water with added ingredient to prevent freezing, within the tower and the heat evaporation is pulled out by a fan mounted on top.

In the commercial market there are thousands of the “one size fits all” HVAC roof top units operating today. Water cooled air conditioner technology has been used in larger buildings and industrial sites for years, but now there are new water cooling towers designed to address the already existing Roof Top Units on smaller buildings. This evaporative cooling tower is designed to sub cool the HVAC units in place. The evaporative cooling tower is designed to subcool several units at one time. This retro fit application can even include the stores roof top refrigeration. 

Evaporative Fluid Cooling, Evaporative Condenser Cooling, and Evaporative Subcooling towers all use water to cool the refrigerant in a closed loop design. The only difference in the towers is the coil design required by application. The Evaporative Water Cool Air Conditioning Retro Fit technology is saving energy by reducing consumption and lowering carbon footprint.

There are several different ways that water is used in air conditioning. The most common is using cooling towers and this technology has been used in the industrial industry, large commercial, malls, and hospitals for many years. The split system air conditioners are known as chillers. Even though the size may be different, but the concept and application is the same. This same technology is now available for light commercial and residential applications. Some are designed for Retro Fitting.

Water Cooled Air Conditioning has evolved to the development of several designs of Ultra-Efficient HVAC commercial systems around the Evaporative Condenser and Evaporative Fluid Cooling technology (Evaporative Sub-Cooling). Every design utilizes the natural properties of water to cool the refrigerant up to 60 degrees cooler than is possible with an air-cooled system. By reducing the heat in the refrigerant circuit, the operating efficiency of these water-cooled evaporative condenser and closed circuit cooling tower systems is dramatically enhanced, providing an unparalleled efficiency advantage over conventional air-cooled units.

The water cooling towers in a retro fit application are recognized as most efficient energy saver and the most economical solution to implement. In this case the existing Rooftop Air Conditioner remains in place. This allows the condenser to act as a hybrid system, cooling the hot refrigerant with ambient air, but uses a cooling tower to subcool the refrigerant and in using this method offers a tremendous reduction in energy consumption and in most cases can also allow a reduction in the size of the compressor. This application allows one tower to subcool several Roof Top Units (RTU’s) at one time and even subcool the buildings refrigeration. Lightweight and requires no roof structural changes.

The largest amount of savings produced by a evaporative condenser, and closed circuit cooling towers occurs during the heat of the day thereby offsetting expensive peak demand charges that electrical utilities are now applying to commercial customers. Many utilities offer rebates or financial incentive programs aimed at commercial users of peak kW demand.

The purpose of an HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) system is to provide and maintain environmental conditions within an area called the "conditioned space." The selection of the type of HVAC system by design is a critical decision. It is the engineer’s responsibility to consider the various systems and select the one that will provide the best combination of initial cost, operating cost, performance, and reliability based on his understanding of the buildings needs and goals. In the selection process all factors must be analyzed.

Retro Fitting with Water Cooled Air Conditioning

To learn more on commercial retro fitting RTU’s and Refrigeration visit: Thermco Energy Systems

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