How Can You Reduce Your Business's Reliance On The Energy Grid?

If you own a manufacturing facility that generates enough of its own heat to minimize your use of the furnace during fall and winter months, you may dread the electricity bills you'll face during spring and summer when attempting to cool your facility to a habitable temperature. Even worse can be calls from shift supervisors informing you that one or more of your employees has been transported to the hospital for heat stroke treatment. Fortunately, there are several ways for you to significantly reduce your cooling costs (or generate enough electricity to offset any increase in consumption caused by your air conditioning measures). Read on to learn more about three ways you can minimize your summer cooling bills by taking advantage of natural resources or your building's own waste heat. 

Investigate chilled beam technologies 

Although chilled beam systems have been popular in much of Europe and Asia over the past several decades, it's only been recently that they've taken off in North America. A chilled beam system operates by flowing air over a pipe containing chilled water, chilling the air and circulating it throughout a room or building.

Most chilled beam systems are either active or passive. In an active system, the warm or room-temperature air is forced over the chilled beam and a fan is used to distribute the air throughout the room. A passive chilled beam system operates on a convection basis – similar to a radiator heater, but utilizing cold air instead of warm. The chilled beam will be suspended from the ceiling or another place allowing for maximum circulation, and as air passes over the pipe and is cooled, it will drop to the ground. The warmest air in the room will then rise to meet the pipe, where it will be cooled and circulate back down to the ground again. 

A chilled beam system can be a great choice for factories or manufacturing plants where certain parts of the building tend to gather the most heat. Installing a few passive chilled beams in these areas can drop the interior temperature dramatically without hiking your business's electricity bill. 

Install a geothermal heat pump

Contrary to its name, a heat pump can be an ultra-efficient way to generate a constant supply of cold air while using only a minimal amount of electricity. These heat pumps operate in a similar manner as chilled beam systems but utilize water-filled pipes buried beneath the surface of the ground to take advantage of the constant cool temperature of the Earth's crust. 

Because the only electricity used by a geothermal heat pump is what is needed to power the fans that circulate hot and cool air through the system, it is one of the most efficient ways to quickly cool a large, hot area. 

Generate electricity through waste heat recycling 

One way to take advantage of the heat your manufacturing processes generate on a daily basis is to invest in a waste heat recycling system or recovery unit. These systems can capture the waste heat ventilated from your building and use it to generate electricity, which can then be used to power a traditional compressor-based air conditioner or a more efficient heat pump or chilled beam system. 

While a waste heat recovery unit can be expensive to purchase and install, it's also a great way to make your manufacturing processes more sustainable and improve the resale value of your business. The more electricity you can generate using your waste heat recovery unit, the less you'll rely on public utilities, lowering your costs and insulating you from blackouts or rate hikes that can put your competitors behind. 

Once you've decided what cooling system to use, contact an HVAC service like Always Ready Repair to install it for you.