Find out how you can cut energy costs by 30 per cent in Middle East buildings
June 2016 hit the headlines across the world for an unpleasant reason.
According to NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it was the hottest June in records since 1880.
It is noteworthy that the month under review had remained unfailingly above the 20th century average for the past 40 years for wide-ranging reasons, which include the effects of global warming as well as El Niño.
In Middle East, there had been no let up in terms of heat and humidity during the last summer.
The UAE’s National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) had announced in advance that the temperature in the country’s interior parts may go up to 49 degrees Celsius and humidity levels are expected to climb to 85 per cent around the coastal parts in the coming days.
In the neighbouring Kuwait and Iraq, the temperature hovered around 55 degree Celsius.
The rising temperature comes along the rocketing energy costs. Keeping their buildings cool for the visitors and residents, not to mention lighting and other amenities, has been an enormous challenge for the businesses in the region.
Globally, buildings currently account for 40 per cent of energy consumption. The region’s consumption often exceeds the global average.
But technology coupled with innovation can create wonders by increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The WAFI Mall in Dubai is a great one of the many attractions in the city.
The mall was developed by Commercial Holdings LLC Group and it opened in 1991 on Garhoud Road, which is right in the heart of this ever-growing city. With its Egyptian-style architecture, the magnificent building is truly eye-catching. The Pyramid offers countless shopping options that make for a unique experience. But this complex has even more to offer—a 5-star hotel, a subterranean market (the Souk Khan Murjan), a wellness oasis, and many other attractions and it frequented by thousands of people every week but barely few know the fact that the men behind one of emirate’s flagship mixed-use developments have been successful in achieving 30 per cent savings in energy.
So how did the mall operators deal with the increasing need for cooling?
The German engineering giant Siemens had solutions for their woes. Siemens Demand Flow was the right fit for the mall as it uses variable frequency drives controlled by software integrated into the building automation and control system to allow chiller plant optimization.
Siemens Demand Flow shows the way
The variable frequency drives—assigned to all constant speed motors such as condenser pumps, chilled water pumps and cooling tower fans—enable the production of chilled water in accordance with demand, rather than at a constant rate. This reduction of low in periods of lower demand helped the building save energy. It is also expected to reduce operation and maintenance costs over the lifecycle of the plant in the mall.
“Over the past twenty years we have seen millions of visitors and Siemens has been there all the way. So when we were looking for innovative solutions to reduce the energy consumption in our facility, we had to look no further than Siemens,” says Ian Kitching, General Manager, Building Services Division, WAFI property.
The outcome of the Demand Flow approach was significant as it achieved energy savings in five major areas of a chilled-water system: cooling towers, condenser pumps, chillers, chilled water pumps, and air-handling units.
“Siemens Demand Flow is an extremely powerful solution,” says Koen Bogers, Head of Building Technologies for Siemens UAE. “Specially developed algorithms use variable frequency drives to maintain optimal differential system pressure, reduce excessive pumping energy and equipment runtime, and to increase deliverable tonnage on systems suffering with a diminished refrigeration effect. Importantly, the system does not require the installation of costly variable frequency drives on chiller compressor motors.”
“The strength of this solution is that we can absolutely guarantee energy savings by taking a holistic view of the whole plant,” says Bogers. “Crucially, this approach ensures that energy is not simply shifted from one plant subsystem to another, as in some other energy conservation methods for chiller plants on the market. Post-implementation of the Demand Flow Concept provides measurement and verification for the total energy consumption of the plant, including each individual subsystem, and provides an accurate report for the whole facility.”
Completely chiller agnostic, Siemens Demand Flow is not specific to any one manufacturer and does not void equipment warranties. Once commissioned, the system is fully automatic, with the Siemens Demand Flow Controller automatically optimizing the whole chiller plant. Typically, access is available through a graphical user interface, and plant managers are also able to use the web-based service platform Navigator from Siemens to monitor chiller plant system performance from anywhere in the world. This platform is also responsible for the accumulation of data, reporting of energy profiles and detailing equipment operation parameters.
Siemens solution gaining popularity
Siemens has successfully implemented its technology in more than 160 facilities worldwide, including hospitals, office buildings, data centers, hotels and resorts, universities, and manufacturing and industrial sites. The installation of Siemens Demand Flow in WAFI was completed in June 2014.
“Currently this project is in the measurement and verification phase, which means we monitor the plant’s performance over the course of a year to determine the energy savings on the previous year’s consumption.” says Bogers. “So far, the analysis is indicating that energy savings on the installation will exceed our initial estimates, which is a very pleasing result.”
“Demand for cooling in this region is high and also seasonably variable. Systems are designed for peak load during summer, and the rest of the time they are under partial load conditions; this is when Siemens Demand Flow can really make a difference,” he says.
The energy optimization of the Central Chilled Water Plant-1 is also noteworthy because it was project was the first LEED-Gold rated district cooling plant in the Middle East region.
“Ever since the installation of Siemens Demand Flow, the indoor environmental quality and visitor experience has improved,” adds Kitching.