Belimo Energy Valve helps Hillsdale College meet strategic energy goals


Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College, Michigan is known for its strong tradition in liberal arts and classical education. Its campus spans approximately 400 acres and encompasses 51 buildings. Buildings affiliated with the college account for roughly 1.4 million square feet of total space. In this Sponsored Article – Belimo explain how its Energy Valve helped Hillsdale College to achieve improved efficiency and reduced energy costs.

Initial Situation

In June 2011, Hillsdale’s energy department implemented an energy management program in an effort to reduce costs associated with providing utility services to the campus. The primary goal of the plan was to help the college absorb potential utility hikes while avoiding the need to increase its utility budget.

The first step required monitoring occupied needs with system runtimes to see when and where internal efficiency could be gained. After roughly a year and a half, maintenance personnel concluded that a more creative and proactive approach was needed. The college’s energy department began closely examining the operation of HVAC systems to identify areas where substantial savings could be achieved.

The majority of Hillsdale College’s chilled water needs are handled by a main loop, which is driven by a central chilling plant. The plant was commissioned in 1999 and features two chillers (500-ton) and (650-ton) that combine to service over 800,000 square feet of building space. With limited diagnostic capabilities, technicians had limited access to data coming out of the central plant. In order to determine where inefficiencies were present, energy management personnel began looking at the performance of individual air handlers and more specifically, chilled water Delta-T across each of the cooling coils. They then compared those findings with how the equipment was initially designed and commissioned.

Many of Hillsdale’s buildings were experiencing ‘low delta-T’ syndrome. Typically, low delta-T is caused by over flowing chilled water through the cooling coil, which results in inefficient heat transfer. In addition to higher electricity costs, this triggered the second chiller to come online in order to handle the volumetric flow requirement of the system. The issue was so severe that the installation of a third chiller was being considered. Recognising this, the staff began searching for a solution, which led them to the Belimo Energy Valve.

The Solution: Belimo Energy Valve

In Spring 2013, Hillsdale College decided to install three Energy Valves as part of a pilot test.

The Energy Valves increased delta-T across coils to between 10-12°F. The valves increased pumping efficiency and reduced energy consumption, thereby enhancing cooling efficiency. There was no further need for a third chiller. Users were able to view all of this information from a simple web interface. This data was used to control pumps with variable frequency drives, reducing overall chiller load. The newly developed control dashboard, that allowed data to be viewed from all Energy Valves on one page, enabled maintenance technicians to monitor and react quickly to variables.

After the success of the pilot test, they decided to install additional Energy Valves throughout the campus. From May 2014 to May 2015, 24 Energy Valves were installed in 11 buildings.

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