Free cooling (water-side economizing) can be an effective tool for reducing overall energy consumption in complex cooling systems located in certain climates. In practice, however, it can be difficult to implement effectively, often involving guesswork in determining when to turn on and off. Due to lack of accurate information and concerns over consuming extra energy by suddenly restarting chillers, operators frequently avoid using free cooling altogether. Even when they do utilize free cooling, it is all-too-often inefficiently implemented, with overrunning fans a common occurrence.
Predictive Free Cooling, an optional add-on to your OptiCx subscription, eliminates the guesswork by incorporating 72-hour forward weather forecast data to accurately predict free cooling availability. When plant conditions permit free cooling operation, OptiCx either informs the facility team that the appropriate free cooling window is available or automatically engages and disengages free cooling mode without operator intervention. Predictive Free Cooling is configurable, allowing operators to adjust both the outside air wet bulb threshold and the minimum free cooling window period based on a site’s specific requirements. Within OptiCx, operators can view forecasted free cooling windows for the upcoming 72 hours, as well as the historical actual and forecasted wet bulb temperatures for the past 24 hours. Monthly reports are also available, providing insight into the free cooling hours available, free cooling hours activated and savings achieved.
The result is additional ongoing reductions in overall energy consumption through increased use of free cooling and improved efficiency in system operations.