Next Generation Advanced High-efficiency DX Air Conditioner Demonstration
Dr. Michael West | Advantek Consulting Engineering, Inc.
This project will demonstrate the next generation advanced high-efficiency Direct Expansion (DX) package air-conditioner technology with the overarching goal of lifting market barriers and promoting acceptance by energy managers, energy service companies, and operations & maintenance technicians. Changing from the existing to the advanced air-conditioner will reduce energy use by at least 35%, with no sacrifice of comfort or reliability. In addition to increased energy efficiency and cost effectiveness, the project will demonstrate automated fault detection & diagnostics along with ease of maintenance, addressing challenging issues that cause decline in operational energy efficiency and equipment service life. Package air-conditioner systems installed at Department of Defense (DoD) facilities operate at much lower energy efficiency than the best available technologies, and they do not automatically report operational faults, so performance-based preventive maintenance is often deemed not cost-effective. Currently available state-of-art replacements are rarely installed due to high first cost and reliability concerns, and because they can be difficult and costly to maintain with existing resources.
The ClimaTek® platform is uniquely compatible with DoD design and maintenance realities, while delivering better energy efficiency, comfort, and economics than virtually every currently available model package air-conditioner. The advanced DX technology features comprehensive performance optimization including control of airflows and refrigerant flow and level, remote fault detection and diagnostics, independent control of sensible cooling and dehumidification, and remote monitoring via a secure web interface. This innovative combination of technologies results in higher energy efficiency ratings, improved maintainability and sustainable energy savings throughout equipment life. The units have nearly twice the dehumidification capability of current models, thus dehumidification is achieved without energy intensive reheat. In humid climates, increased dehumidification allows thermostat set points to be raised a few degrees, reducing energy consumption, without compromising occupant comfort and productivity. Dehumidification is automatically adjusted to minimal levels when dry conditions are experienced to further reduce energy consumption.
Next generation DX air-conditioner technology is a near-term, cost-effective solution applicable at nearly every DoD installation. DX equipment installed at virtually every DoD site accounts for 54% of facility air conditioning energy use. Successful demonstration of next generation advanced DX equipment will add replacement of low performing DX package units to the arsenal of efficiency improvements included in Energy Service Company (ESCO) performance contracts, UESCs, and capital projects. Additionally, next generation advanced DX package units offer a viable replacement option for DoD chilled water systems that are aging, where mission changes make an aged chilled water system upgrade not viable, or where elimination of cooling tower water consumption and maintenance is desirable. With HVAC accounting for approximately 33% of primary electric use, installing next generation advanced DX equipment has the potential to reduce DoD energy intensity by 7,100 Btu/GSF and energy costs by $300 million per year.