Bio-Pharmaceutical Company Lowers Energy Costs by 56% with Ice

Credit: CALMAC

CALMAC, a Fair Lawn, New Jersey-based manufacturer specializing in ice-based energy storage systems, has just published a case study describing how a leading bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Northern California used ice to decrease energy costs by 56%.

This bio-pharma company, which CALMAC is keeping confidential, had a facility condition assessment performed on its 235,000 square-foot mixed use industrial building in California and decided to redesign it to seek LEED Silver certification. The company also participated in the California Public Utilities Commission’s Permanent Load Shift program, which offers cash incentives for energy storage and usage that shifts building cooling to off-peak hours. Building owners with eligible projects can receive $875 per kilowatt of cooling load shifted, CALMAC says.

The facility condition assessment showed that the bio-pharma company’s pumps, most of its air handlers, and the chiller were all nearing the end of their lives. Plus, all the equipment sat on the roof — not ideal if an earthquake hit the area.

Following the Permanent Load Shift program guidelines, the San Jose-based firm Advanced Design Consultants performed a feasibility study for the bio-pharma company that featured a thermal energy storage system at ground level in an open lot, CALMAC reported.

CALMAC installed a new modular IceBank energy storage tanks next to the building housing the new chillers. Essentially the system works by freezing water during the night and then the thawed ice gets used for cooling during the daytime. CALMAC compares thermal energy storage to “a battery for a building’s air-conditioning system.”

Thousands of customers have installed the system, including DuPont, Kohl’s, IBM, JC Penney, Marriott Hotels, McDonald’s, Siemens, Trane, and Walmart, according to CALMAC. Last year, the Naval Post Graduate School’s Integrated Multi-Physics Renewable Energy Laboratory (IMPREL) in Monterey, California, installed a CALMAC system that works with wind and solar.

Ice-based storage in general has grown popular. GAR Laboratories reported that using a storage system from Ice Energy reduced monthly electric bills from $571 to $117 for two of its buildings.

The bio-pharma that installed IceBank initially intended to save a third of the annual HVAC-related energy costs, Advanced Design Consultants vice president Lorenzo Rios Jr. told CALMAC. “The permanent load shift that the thermal energy storage system supplies equates to a decrease of 56% of energy costs compared to a baseline California Energy Code Title 24 chilled water plants minimum design during the summer months alone,” the case study says. The total annual energy savings is projected to be 19,703 kilowatt hours.

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