Free cooling cuts costs for building society

Published:  17 September, 2006

The fee-cooling capabilities of a new Airedale chiller at this call centre of Yorkshire Building Society will substantial reduce energy costs.

Free cooling is reducing running costs at the call centre of Yorkshire Building Society in Bradford following the replacement of a chiller with new Airedale equipment.

This 4-storey call centre has workstations for 300 people, refreshment and staff-comfort zones and a data centre cooled by two Airedale AlphaCool close-control units. The 3200 m2 of space in this sealed building is now fully used, with people and computers creating high heat gains. The centre operates 12 h a day, six days a week.

With the call centre operating at full capacity, the existing chiller could not maintain temperatures at 23°C.

The new Ultima FreeCool (UFC) chiller provides 500 kW of cooling and has twin refrigeration circuits, providing a separate system as a back up. There was not enough space for two separate chillers.

The decision by Steven Ward, premises engineer with Yorkshire Building Society to install free cooling was driven by energy cost savings. He explains, ‘Airedale proved that its free-cooling chiller can save energy and is the right system for us. The initial purchase price is far outweighed by the savings we can make on running costs, Anything that improves payback is of interest to the society.

The UFC typically uses 35% less energy in a year than a conventional air-cooled chiller, based on Met Office figures for London.

These chillers give priority to free cooling as soon as the ambient temperature is 1 K less than the return water.

When the call centre is open until 8 p.m. and ambient temperatures are lower, energy consumption can be reduced further.

During the coldest part of the year, free cooling can totally satisfy the cooling load.

The UFC can operate on simultaneous mechanical and free cooling for up to 50% the year and only needs to operate completely on mechanical cooling for about 38% of the year. For about 12% of the year, free cooling alone suffices.

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