Building Technologies

Watch: Sustainable Air Conditioning in the Land of Sustainability

26 June 2018

Uruguay is a country of almost 3.5 million inhabitants that has no oil reserves and that until just over 10 years ago imported oil from neighboring countries. Thanks to the green energy policy launched in 2000, today the country produces 97 percent of its total electricity from renewable sources: solar, hydroelectric, wind and biomass. A true revolution, it is the result of a well-structured energy plan, a favorable legislative framework and a strong collaboration between the public and private sectors, which brought about a lot of green electricity at lower costs than in the past. However, in a country where the summer is very hot and the winter is very cold, energy remains an important item of expenditure, even crucial in the case of modern shopping centers, which are considered to be high energy consumers.

Las Piedras Shopping
The city of Las Piedras in the Canelones region has become a rapidly growing urban center, following the strong metropolitan development of the capital Montevideo. In this area, which is mostly rural and characterized by small businesses, it lacked a communal center offering not only shops, but also restaurants and recreational services for citizens.

To serve this growing community, Las Piedras Shopping was created: a total of 38,000 m² with 100 shops, five movie theatres, one superstore and a large food court with 12 different restaurants, with a total capacity of 600 people. The building is on three levels; the underground level is dedicated to parking, the other two are for commercial and recreational activities. The center overlooks Artigas Park with large windows, fitting harmoniously into the surrounding environment.

Given the green context in which the structure stands, sustainability and respect for the environment were the cornerstones for the design of the entire building. Great importance was given to lighting, with large use of windows and therefore natural light, flanked by artificial LED lighting.

Rational use of water has also been provided, thanks also to a double supply system that distinguishes drinking water from that for service use. Finally, the center’s air conditioning and ventilation system has also been designed and implemented with a strong focus on energy savings.

The Air Conditioning System
The air conditioning of the shopping center is based on a centralized system with water-cooled liquid chillers that serve the various commercial premises and air handling units. To reduce energy consumption, while guaranteeing maximum reliability and internal comfort for the end-users of the center, highly efficient Climaveneta units have been selected.

In detail, three FOCS2-W/CA water-cooled liquid chillers, in a high-efficiency version, have been installed with a total cooling capacity of 3,417 kW. These units are connected to the cooling towers. The engineer Louis Lagormarsino, who designed the mechanical plant, said: “We decided to install water-cooled chillers in the mall because in this project the operating cost was very important and keeping chillers with cooling towers positively impacted the costs related to electric consumption.”

To optimize the energy performance of the building, a free-cooling system was also set up to exploit the favorable temperatures of the outdoor air to support the air conditioning system. The air treatment is carried out by 10 WIZARD-TA-7500 CA air handling units, with a total air flow rate of 244.035 m³/h.

Installation and After-Sales
The AHUs were supplied with a plug and play solution, which meant that the units could be installed and started in an easy and fast way. In addition, the solution allows them to be connected to a centralized system to constantly monitor their operation and consumption.

Martin Foderè, centre manager of Las Piedras Shopping says: “We are very satisfied with the performance of the air conditioning system. The after-sales assistance provided to us was fundamental to achieve the optimal levels of energy efficiency, which we are seeing month after month in electricity bills.”

Las Piedras Shopping Center. Source: ClimavenetaLas Piedras Shopping Center. Source: Climaveneta

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