ENERGY: The cost of PRODUCING 1 MILLION BTUs
Modern buildings require complex mechanical systems to transform gas and electricity into heating, cooling, hot water, steam, and refrigeration. Across the commercial industrial and public property sectors, thermal energy consumption often dwarfs other energy use cases (lighting, computer servers, etc), easily accounting for more than half of total demand.
The Thermal Direct advantage is best understood by comparing the rated efficiency and relative cost of producing 1 million BTUs using various commercial fuel sources. While prices may vary by region, the ratios remain constant.
|Source||Efficiency||USD Cost / MMBTU
BTUs as a Unit of Measure
A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is a standard unit of measurement used to denote both the amount of heat energy in fuels and the ability of appliances and air conditioning systems to produce heating or cooling. A BTU is the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a pint of water (which weighs exactly 16 ounces) by one degree Fahrenheit. Since BTUs are measurements of energy consumption, they can be converted directly to kilowatt-hours (3412 BTUs = 1 kWh) or joules (1 BTU = 1,055.06 joules).
Commercial and industrial scale HVAC systems are among the largest non-agricultural consumers of potable water. Large buildings in particular are often cooled with systems that employ evaporative cooling towers. The process is energy-intensive, water-intensive, and ultimately not sustainable.
Cooling towers transfer heat in part by evaporating water; however, water is also lost through drift and bleed-off, and must be replenished continuously. In aggregate, water is lost at the rate of 3 gallons per minute for every 100 tons of cooling. Put another way, a tower or condenser that provides 500 tons cooling evaporates almost 21,600 gallons of water over a 24-hour operating cycle.
Thermal Direct can completely eliminate the use of fresh water for evaporative cooling. As communities throughout the U.S. and around the world reevaluate water use policies, we believe Thermal Direct represents a sustainable alternative.
Total Cost of Ownership
While the rated service life of physical plant infrastructure is typically 15 years, operational coefficients begin to decline almost immediately.
As performance degrades, energy and support costs rise. By year 10, maintenance support and lifecycle replacement costs often exceed the original installed cost.