Behind the walls of every office building, in the pipes of every hospital, in the cooling systems of every data center, rush thousands of gallons of water. From heating and cooling human-occupied spaces to maintaining the operation of sensitive digital equipment, this water plays an important, but often invisible, role in maintaining HVAC systems in the built environment.
Commercial water treatment ensures that HVAC systems run efficiently without causing unnecessary wear on machinery or becoming incubators for deadly contaminants. As more companies focus on energy and water reduction, many are starting to realize the economic benefit of strong water treatment strategy. Water treatment can impact up to 4% of the total operating budget, and a savings strategy can exceed that value when implemented properly and extend the life of necessary HVAC equipment, like chillers.
“Every building needs water treatment services, but it sometimes falls in the background to larger projects,” Boland Chemical Applications Engineer Ben Feeney said. “Most property owners look to reduce electrical use, which accounts for 60% of the cost of operation, but they don’t realize that water treatment can leverage significant savings for them.”
Water can serve different purposes in HVAC systems depending on the type of building. For example, hospitals depend on water treatment for heating, cooling and the sterilization of medical instruments. Water treatment is also critical to data centers, as an inadequate program may lead to failing equipment, causing a shutdown should the HVAC system overheat.
Design flaws in buildings can also cause water-related challenges. When an HVAC cooling tower is located next to the kitchen or bathroom exhaust, for example, the exhaust ducts continually add nutrients that help bacteria populate. Failure to resolve these problems can lead to expensive retreating of water rather than addressing the root of the problem.
“Most large facilities understand the importance of a water treatment strategy,” said Feeney. “However, many smaller office buildings award contracts to the lowest bidder and may not realize exactly what services they are or aren’t receiving. Competition for the lowest bid service contract forces some water treatment companies to use lower-quality chemicals or remove legionella testing and other lab services to secure the contract.”
Preventing these issues starts with hiring a water treatment company that uses high-quality chemicals and monitoring equipment from the beginning. Because Boland offers services that range from water treatment and controls to building automation, it can work with clients from the beginning to develop a comprehensive water treatment strategy.
An additional benefit of working with Boland is the firm can bundle water treatment contracts with mechanical services contracts to ensure that mechanical issues are addressed in harmony. Customers can save in electrical and water consumption by tying everything together.
Technology plays an increasingly important role in water treatment. In the past, chemicals that help inhibit corrosion of pipes or the buildup of materials had to be added by hand. Customers would then have to send a service tech monthly to monitor the levels. Today, the smart controllers Boland uses are capable of sensing the amount of chemical in the water in real time, allowing the system to automatically feed and maintain a predetermined chemical set-point.
Customers can also receive email alerts or text messages about the levels of chemicals in the water, and the cloud-based system provides remote access.
Improvement has also been made in the type of chemicals being used and their delivery. The commercial water-softening techniques Boland uses can reduce wear and tear on water chillers and allows our customers to recycle higher-quality water longer with less drainage. This technique can save clients between $10K and $40K per year on sewer and water bills, depending on system size and usage.
Prepare for next year’s budget with a water treatment plan today. Call Boland at (800) 552-6526 or check out www.boland.com/watertreatment to begin building a water treatment plan fit for your needs.
This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Boland.