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Thermal Storage Can Minimize Demand Charges

energy procurement, HVAC, thermal storage, construction, mechanical engineering

February 26, 2008 - Design & Construction

I’m Ed Sullivan, editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today’s topic is using thermal storage to minimize demand charges.

Facility electric bills have two basic components. One is consumption – the amount of energy used. The other is a demand charge, which is based on a facility’s peak demand. The demand charge may reflect the highest peak demand in an entire year.

Thermal storage systems can help minimize demand charges. Thermal storage systems create ice or cool water at night, when rates are low, then use that ice or cool water to provide cooling during the day. That reduces consumption of power during the hours of peak demand, reducing the demand charge.

In addition to its impact on operating costs, a thermal storage system can also reduce the construction cost of the mechanical system. That’s because the HVAC system can be downsized based on how much of the peak load the thermal storage system can handle.
Life-cycle cost optimization can be used to help determine how much of the load the thermal storage system should be designed for.