Chemistry Centre Heat Recovery Chiller

In the summer of 2021, Energy & Water Services successfully completed the installation of the heat recovery chiller in Chemistry D Block, and commissioned in October 2021.

A server room in the basement of Chemistry D (Centre) Block currently holds a computer cluster in support of research and learning. In order to properly regulate the heat produced from these computers, the server room requires transferring the heat out of the room to keep the computers at an optimal temperature.

The team at Energy & Waters Services identified an opportunity to recover the transferred heat from the server room—the output from the cooling—by installing a heat recovery chiller. The heat recovery chiller would convert the excess heat from the server room to usable thermal energy for space heating in other areas of the building.

After numerous assessments of the space and the existing equipment, the team was faced with several challenges, and modifications were required before the heat recovery chiller could be installed. One of the challenges was to remove 3-way valves, which led to low differential temperatures between the supply and return heating temperature. Another issue the team came across was the high heating water temperatures required by the building, that needed lower in order to operate the new equipment at efficiently. Some of the equipment in the mechanical room was also relocated to make room for the new recovery chiller.

After many years of project development, the heat recovery chiller was put into operation in the Chemistry D Block building in 2021. During its operation, the heat recovery chiller provides almost all of the space heating the building requires, saving the university almost 1200GJ of thermal energy by the end of the 2021. This also indicates that the recovery chiller would be capable of providing its forecasted 5000GJ in annual thermal energy savings, saving the university almost $50,000 per year.