Les Hamasaki 2015-09-09 02:28:50
REDUCING OUR WATER AND CARBON FOOTPRINTS Cooling school campuses in the Southern California desert with free energy from the sun is a reality and a necessity, if we are to achieve Governor Brown's 25% water reduction mandate and 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2030. The connection of water and energy are intertwined like hydrogen and oxygen in a bottle of water. The more energy we use, the more water is required from thermoelectric fossil fuel-burning power plants. It takes 22 gallons of water for every kilowatt hour consumed -- and approximately 40% of the electricity consumed in California buildings is for air conditioning. Furthermore, water-cooled electric chillers used in large commercial facilities consume significant amounts of water. It is not a coincidence that the demand for cooling, and the electricity that powers most of it, is greatest at the same time the sun sizzles its hottest, as are the peak electricity rates and high demand charges. Since solar thermal energy can be stored in insulated tanks, in combination with an absorption chiller this stored solar energy -- together with solar photovoltaic electricity- - can be used to offset peak electric rates and demand charges, all while reducing the water and carbon footprint of the building’s mechanical air conditioning. The technology is already proven and has been running successfully at five college campuses in Los Angeles, Arizona, and New Mexico (www.sunchiller.com). Other countries, notably Japan, Germany, and China, have large solar absorption systems operating with good results. Installations at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University provide chilled water and pool heating using the condensing heat from absorption chillers, saving significant quantities of water. "Solar HVAC has a competitive advantage over an electric air conditioning system when the external costs of the latter and savings of the former are revealed," says Serge Adami an, president of SunChiller, Inc. In addition to water savings, these solar HVAC savings include the avoided costs of creating new generating capacity by the utilities and the lifecycle savings to building owners of less money spent on energy -- considerations that loom larger in the current climate change and clean power initiatives – as well as the avoided environmental remediation costs and many other avoided costs otherwise borne by governmental agencies, taxpayers, and consumers. Two of the Los Angeles Community College District campuses have installed solar-thermal air conditioning and space heating projects as part of the District’s energy efficiency and energy saving program. A 350-ton solar cooling and heating system – the largest in the United States -- was completed in May 2009 at Los Angeles Valley College in the San Fernando Valley, one of the hottest areas of Los Angeles. A sister campus, Los Angeles Pierce College, installed a 110-ton system. Cooling with solar energy with an absorption chiller is not a new technology; in fact, it is over 50 years old. The ice boxes of earlier days were powered by propane gas to run absorption chillers that used ammonia as a refrigerant. This electric vapor compression cooling gained popularity because of the appliances’ "plug and play" convenience and relatively cheap electric rates. Today’s brownout-causing summer peak electric demand is due mostly to the massive and ever-growing air conditioning load. Over 40 percent of the summer peak is due to air conditioning! Although these educational institutions can negotiate a bulk rate purchase agreement with their local utility companies, the high cost of meeting the peak demand is passed on to the consumers, especially residential [SOLAR, from Page 1] customers and small businesses, with rates of over $.34 per kWh and high demand charges during the summer months. According to the California Energy Commission, in order to keep up with demand caused by population growth, the State must build three gas-fired 500-megawatt peaking power plants, annually. The problem is getting worse due to the substantial population growth in the Inland Empire, Coachella Valley, and Antelope Valley. The projected power gap for the coming summers and the severe drought will be devastating for our economy. Governor Jerry Brown's "50% by 2030" and President Obama's Clean Power Plan "30% by 2050" will be the foundation to create a "perfect solar solution" to trigger the emerging solar economy in California and the nation. With the threat of California's continuing drought, the rising cost of electricity and, eventually, of natural gas, and the continuing impact of global warming, an important part of our sustainable future will be achieved by using the direct energy of the sun with solar-thermal air conditioning to cool all of our school campuses.
Published by Moreno Valley Business Journal. View All Articles.
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