Sustainable Design for Year-Round Chilled Water in Cold Climates

Brandon Fortier, IMEG Corp.

Many laboratories require access to a chilled water system year-round for process cooling needs. During warm ambient temperatures, this requires the use of a refrigerant cycle; however, much of the country has periods of the year when the ambient temperature is below the water temperatures required for process cooling operation.

This presentation provides case studies on several laboratories, each of which uses different HVAC systems and control strategies to deliver year-round chilled water successfully and efficiently. Each project had different ambient weather conditions and research needs, but all were designed to provide a process water loop available for year-round cooling.

System approaches to be compared are: dry cooler; winterized cooling tower; cooling tower with below-ground basin; closed-loop, ground-coupled heat sink; open-loop, lake-water heat sink.

The presenter will compare the energy performance of these systems to code requirements and will also review the maintenance and operational considerations for each.

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate and identify year-round cooling system requirements;
  • Explain how different HVAC systems can provide year-round cooling;
  • Identify system variables that influence energy consumption; and
  • Understand how building performance and operations can be impacted by different HVAC systems.


Brandon Fortier is the National Leader for Science & Technology at IMEG Corp., a national engineering firm specializing in vertical construction. His work includes projects with Owners in both the public and private domain, and his experience extends to high containment, clean room, life science, and vibration/temperature sensitive applications.


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