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Right sort of cutbacks 

North Somerset Council is saving £50,000 a year on its office building, thanks to the efficient operation of its new magnetic bearing chillers. RAC reports

New Turbomiser chillers, based on Turbocor oil-free compressors, installed at North Somerset Council’s headquarters in Clevedon are saving the authority more than £1,000 a week in energy costs.

Chiller specialist Cool-Therm  installed two 400 kW Turbomiser TMA chillers at the council’s building at Castlewood earlier this year, in collaboration with the council’s M&E and energy management department.

The oil-free chillers, which run on ‘virtually frictionless’ magnetic bearings, replaced three Hitachi units that were approaching the end of their operational life.

Minimum disruption

The Hitachi chillers, rated at 569 kW each, were found to be oversized for the current operation of the building, following major changes to both occupancy and usage. Cool-Therm notes this resulted in high maintenance costs, poor control and reliability.

Cool-Therm carried out a turnkey installation, which included the removal of the existing chillers. The changeover was completed while maintaining continuity of cooling to the building, so that it could continue to function as normal.

The two-month project saw staged removal of existing units and installation of new chillers. The major work was completed out of office hours to minimise disruption on site.

Crane lifts posed a particular challenge due to the location of the building near the sea front, with high winds and unpredictable conditions affecting roof-top working. Accurate placement was important as the new Turbomiser chillers were manufactured with connection positions designed for hook-up to the existing fixed on-site services.

The Cool-Therm team worked closely with Steve Hodges, the principal mechanical, electrical and energy engineer for North Somerset Council.

Due to the proximity of the site to the sea, and the risk of metal corrosion from salt-laden air, the heat exchange coils on the chillers were treated with a heavy duty Heresite protective coating.

The chillers, which have an ESEER rating of more than 4.9:1, are equipped with a Modbus gateway, enabling their performance to be monitored via the internet and any alarms to be interrogated and diagnosed remotely.

The efficient operation of the Turbomiser chillers and reduced capacity over their predecessors are saving in excess of £1000.00 in energy running costs a week.

 “The Turbomisers offer a proven high efficiency solution, and the results to date confirm the anticipated savings,” says Mr Hodges, “We are very pleased with the high quality approach and professionalism of Cool-Therm in delivering the turnkey package, and look forward to the savings that will continue to accrue over the life-time of the plant.”

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