Reliable Cooling Keeps Facilities in Good Health

Healthcare industry facilities can add durability, reliability and cost savings to their HVAC systems with advanced cooling tower technology.

Many facilities in the healthcare sector are particularly dependent on maintaining stable environments within various structures, where steady room temperature and humidity are critical factors.

In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, laboratories, manufacturing and storge facilities, sometimes containing many millions of dollars of inventory, need to maintain climate control around the clock.  In some cases, deviations outside specific limits can endanger products and trigger costly regulatory and complaiance issues.

In hospitals and other medical treatment centers, the dependency on stable HVAC systems can be just as complex, involving not only human comfort but also the reliability of sensitive instrumentation and data-related equipment.

 While there certainly are other HVAC considerations in the mix, many of these facilities are reliant on cooling towers to support their inner environments.  If a cooling tower fails or required unplanned downtime, its susceptibilities can significantly affect the operating "health" of a structure, its occupants and operating equipment.  The fact is, in many such facilities, the cooling towers may well be the weakest link in the HVAC chain.

In many instances the nemesis of a conventional, metal-clad cooling tower is corrosion, which can require shutdowns for unscheduled tower maintenance, rebuilding or replacement. "Replacing metal cooling tower panels can be a real nuisance," says Vincent Chiocchio, president of HVAC systems contractor Controlled Air, Inc., Brandford, CT.  "We haven't had any such problems with the plastic cooling towers we've installed."

A Healthier Cooling Tower Design

The plastic cooling tower to which Chiocchio refers is an advanced technology that eliminates the chronic problems of corrosion and also enables additional maintenance and other operational savings. HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is not only impervious to corrosive water treatment chemicals, but also to corrosive elements that are often present in the air, whether harsh chemical vapors emitted from nearby industrial plants or natural corrosives such as salt air. But there are also other, more performance-related advantages to these HDPE cooling towers.

Performance and Payback

In 2012 Chiocchio’s company, Controlled Air, designed and installed a cooling tower and chiller system for a pharmaceutical R&D facility located in Cheshire, CT. While the longevity and dependability of the cooling tower were the priority requirements, the customer was also highly interested in design flexibility and operational economies. In addressing the critical dependability requirement, Controlled Air selected a 600-ton model from Delta Cooling Towers, the manufacturer that first developed the advanced HDPE plastic tower technology.

“This design featured four fans and motors, and we liked that redundancy because it meant that if we lose one fan, the cooling tower is still going to continue to operate,” Chiocchio explains. The fans are equipped with direct drive motors, which promise added energy savings as well as lower maintenance costs.

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