Getting more from the power grid

by Catherine Haug

Did you catch the news item on MTPR this morning, about the experiment in Baltimore to reduce power consumption by cooling buildings with ice? They make ice at night, when power loads are low, then use it to cool water piped to buildings for cooling during the heat of day, when power loads are at their peak.

If you missed it, check it out at Chilled-Out Buildings Save Energy, Money, by Christopher Joyce. You can listen to the piece (about 3.5 minutes), or read the text.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Downtown Baltimore is home to an unusual experiment that seems almost quaint — cooling buildings with ice. It’s a service provided by Veolia Energy, a small fry in the world of energy companies [who try] to deliver “efficiency” — basically getting more out of the electricity grid.

Veolia does this with a concept called “district cooling,” which sends water chilled by ice at a central plant out to several nearby buildings. A nearly 10-mile circuit of cooling pipes [under the streets] connects the downtown buildings, including the convention center, government buildings and hotels, to a squat brick building with two domes about 30-feet high next to it [where the ice is made and stored]. They’re the kind of structures that never catch the eye.”

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