HVAC systems are among the heaviest consumers of energy in commercial buildings. Not only that, energy and other resources that could be collected and reused from certain points in HVAC systems are often wasted. To that end, several strategies have been developed to improve the efficiency of HVAC systems, including the use of chilled water recovery systems and tanks.
One of the byproducts of the operation of air handling units in commercial buildings is condensate water from cooling coils. On its own, this water drains to the sewer system. However, it can be collected and used for various applications in the building, including as make-up water in the cooling towers, and as greywater for flushing toilets.
Tanks Direct installed a chilled water recovery tank for the latter purpose in the Abingdon Heights Condominium buildings in Arlington, Virginia. The 3,000-gallon aboveground steel tank is made from recycled materials and has an interior tank coating compatible with chilled water. It also features a duplex pump set for pumping the recovered condensate for use as greywater. Data showed that a similar system installed at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University was able to reuse 3,000,000-gallons of water per year which otherwise would have been wasted.
The installation of this tank also helped the condominium gain LEED points that are allocated based on U.S. Green Building Council initiatives to improve the energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of commercial and government buildings. Buildings with higher LEED point values manifest the benefits in the form of lower operating costs, increased likelihood of occupancy, and in some cases, tax breaks.