Euclid Chemical Replaces Aging VAV System with VRF
Construction supply facility reports 40 percent savings
Euclid Chemical, based in Cleveland, has been supplying the construction industry with products to improve the strength, appearance, and usability of concrete since 1910. Now a large multi-national corporation, Euclid Chemical’s main offices are in a two-story, 15,000-square-foot building that also contains laboratories where they develop products ranging from sealants to micro-synthetic fibers.
Until recently, the building relied upon an aging variable air volume (VAV) system with terminal reheat to keep their offices comfortable and to maintain environmental conditions in the laboratories. Even when new, records showed the system had not performed as designed. This inadequate performance was compounded by cumulative effects of years of normal wear and tear plus questionable modifications.
Ultimately, the system no longer kept people comfortable, broke down frequently, and was incredibly inefficient. After analyzing the utility bills Joe Messer, director of engineering for Euclid Chemical, realized the building had an average annual energy use of 38 KwH per square foot, which is more than twice the average consumption for offices in that geographic area and even more than most of Euclid’s manufacturing facilities. Messer knew Euclid Chemical needed an upgrade to a dependable and efficient system that would meet their needs for years to come.
The building houses both office areas and laboratories, so any new system had to be able to provide individual temperature control, which, at any given time, may require both heating and cooling in different areas.
In the lab, the system also had to account for the unique challenge of quickly adapting to rapidly changing make-up air requirements as laboratory fume hoods started and stopped. It also had to work in the Ohio climate, where the outdoor temperature ranged from sub-0°F weather in the winter to humid high-90°s in the summer. But, above all else, the system had to have manageable upfront costs and an attractive payback to the financial team.
Messer began the process of finding a new solution and reached out to trusted engineer Andy Culberson of Geisel Heating and Cooling, Elyria, Ohio. Culberson identified variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology as the optimum solution and reached out to Peter Eno of Refrigeration Sales Corp., Valley View, Ohio, to collaborate on a solution based on VRF technology from LG Electronics USA Inc. Together, they designed a system around LG Multi-V Heat Recovery systems.
The bulky 50-ton DX unit on the roof was replaced by a pair of small air-cooled outdoor units on the ground, and the VAV boxes inside the building were replaced with LG’s concealed high-static VRF indoor units. To account for the need for ventilation air and makeup air when the laboratory fume hoods were in use, a small makeup air unit with a water heating coil was added to provide ventilation air at a high static pressure to the LG VRF indoor units. Since this was 100 percent outdoor air, the airflow could be adjusted to precisely meet the ventilation requirements as they changed. The LG Multi V is a heat recovery system, so it can heat the zones that need it while cooling others simultaneously, which delivers precise temperature in all parts of the facility regardless of Ohio’s weather, including subzero winters.
After they presented the system proposal, everyone at Euclid Chemical was sold on the concept. Based on the problems and poor performance of the existing system, Messer conservatively estimated the new system would cut their utility bills by 40 percent. What’s more, they could reuse the existing distribution and supply ductwork, which reduced upfront installation costs and further sold the financial team.
Once construction was completed, the system performance exceeded expectations, according to Messer. After implementation, the facility saw a 70 percent annual energy reduction compared to the average of the previous five years (see Figure 1).
Equally important, the new system provides a quiet, comfortable environment for people to work.
“Employees have definitely noticed an improvement in comfort,” said Messer. “This allowed us to focus on our core business instead of worrying about HVAC.”
Messer is currently evaluating other buildings within the Euclid portfolio and, not surprisingly, he’s considering LG VRF solutions.
Information courtesy of LG Electronics USA Inc. For more information, visit www.lghvac.com.
Publication date: 1/9/2017