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Smart valves

Will smart valves help solve your building’s HVAC energy efficiency problem?

Roughly 25% of Midwest commercial buildings use either chilled or hot water for HVAC distribution. New code compliant hydronic systems are required to have both variable flow control and temperature control to prevent energy waste. In existing buildings, owners prefer to address this issue with a variable flow retrofit.

This solution requires a variable speed pump and conversion of all hydronic valves to be converted to two-way valves. Many of these variable flow systems still fail on the goal of maintaining a large enough delta-T for the chiller/boiler to efficiently operate. This problem can now be solved in a robust way using web or cloud-based smart valves. These allow continuous intelligent monitoring and control to ensure high-performance and maximum energy savings.

Slipstream partnered with ComEd to study the energy savings of installing FlowEnergy smart valves on chilled water systems. FlowEnergy smart valves are now commercially available. The system is primarily used in retrofit projects of existing chilled water systems. In this study, our team identifies the drivers of energy savings as well as systems and buildings that make good candidates for the technology. We provide programmatic strategies and develop education and outreach approaches.

Stay tuned for research results in spring 2021.