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Commercial Condensate Reclamation
In the water saving world, you may have heard about low flow toilets, waterless urinals, and automatic sinks, but have you thought about what happens to the condensate that comes from your air conditioning equipment? For most businesses, this water either goes directly to the sewer system or onto the ground. You might not think this is a lot of water or that it could save thousands of dollars from your water bill, but depending on your circumstance, it could make a positive impact on the environment and save some money in the process. With water resources getting more and more scarce, over time, the water and sewer rates may keep increasing and investing in water reclamation may yield returns in as little as 3 to 5 years.
So, what are some steps to take to get this process going?
First, contact your local water/sewer authority to find out if they have a program in place to separately meter the amount of water used in irrigation or that goes into your cooling tower. If so, they may give credits on your bill for water that is used but does not return to the sewer system. In many municipalities, these meters have to be purchased from that authority and are installed in a location of their choosing. If they do not give credits it may still be worth the cost savings to use the water for irrigation or for cooling tower make up water (this water is clean but is not potable so it only needs to be used in non-drinking applications¬), as it would not have to be purchased from the water authority.
Second, have a mechanical contracting professional evaluate your systems and devise a plan to capture and route this water safely and appropriately. After this is done, an installation price can be given along with needed maintenance so that a cost benefit analysis can be done.
Shumate Mechanical recently engineered a condensate collection system for a 9 story building where the mechanical rooms stacked on top of each other and all of the condensate was piped together and ran into the sewer in the basement. We captured this condensate into a barrel, installed a pump with high and low level safeties, installed an overflow back to the drain in case of a pump failure, and pumped the condensate back to the cooling tower. With conservative numbers, we calculated the annual condensate on 9 systems to be 832,500 gallons per year. This water, that would have normally gone to the sewer, was now going to be used in the cooling tower make-up water system. This particular tower used approximately 4,200,000 gallons annually but with the reclaimed water, there would have been a 20% reduction in water used. Actual cost saving dollars, between water and sewer charges on this particular project was estimated at $9,000.00 annually. With other water saving plans such as collecting storm water run-off and low flow water saving devices there is the potential of savings of up to 50%.
There are endless possibilities of water reclamation for offices, high rise buildings, and industrial plants by using condensate from HVAC equipment for plant operations, irrigation, and cooling towers. It is well worth the time to see if a water reduction plan is right for your commercial building that saves the environment and you might save some money at the same time.
2805 Premiere Parkway, Duluth GA 30097   Phone: 678-584-0880   Fax: 678-584-1554
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