Central plant optimisation, or CPO, technology is designed to help reduce energy consumption in central chilled water plants, where more than 35 % of a building’s power is consumed.
While building management systems, or BMS, can be used to schedule plant run-time, CPO software aims to optimise the energy savings and performance of components.
A BMS is able to apply general rules, such as scheduling outputs according to occupancy levels, whereas the hands-free relational control technology embedded in CPO solutions is designed to constantly and consistently maximise the efficiency and performance of the entire plant. It takes into consideration plant components such as chillers, pumps and cooling towers, as well as primary, secondary and tertiary circuit components in large installations, aligning them with demand and site priorities and optimising performance and outputs. It thus assists in lowering energy consumption, reducing costs and minimising a company’s carbon footprint.
CPO technology is a stand-alone unit that communicates with plant components and the BMS, using standard protocols. It takes multiple variables into consideration, including the combination and configuration of equipment on site, equipment conditions and availability, occupancy levels, ambient environmental temperature, operating conditions and the weather forecast, amongst others. It also takes note of configured site priorities, such as the constant environmental temperature control required by pharmaceutical manufacturers and information and communication technology hosting facilities.
In addition, the system is configured on-site, minimising disruption to operations. It is compatible with most building automation systems and provides real-time dashboards to view operating efficiency and trends.
Johnson Controls have deployed a CPO solution at Stanford University in the US and are implementing similar systems locally.
According to Johnson Controls engineering manager, Russell Hattingh, “CPO is going to become critical to maximise the operational efficiency of chiller plants and lower energy usage and cost.”