Evaporative cooling has become the system of choice for many business owners in dry climates, utilized to cool their facility while keeping energy consumption and operational costs in check, especially compared to traditional compressor-based cooling. The sheer size of the commercial and industrial facilities that are effectively tempered by evaporative cooling offers insight to the significant savings that can be realized first by the system’s installation and then its continued optimization.

How Do Evaporative Coolers Work?

To optimize performance, we first have to understand how an evaporative cooling system works. The design is simple, yet complex: provide cool, tempered air by converting warmer, dry air through a series of evaporative processes to draw out the air’s natural heat and inject cooler air into your work space. 

Often compared to “swamp coolers” in the southwestern United States, evaporative cooling units utilize more advanced technology that enable them to serve as viable alternatives to conventional cooling beyond just the Southwest and for larger spaces.

There are direct and indirect technologies available in evaporative cooling, essentially designated by the moisture level in your climate and whether or not additional moisture is desired. These systems may be effectively combined in a two-stage unit, such as the ESC-Series, to add additional cooling as the result of the two processes working together. 

Providing comfortable and healthy working environments

The benefits of evaporative cooling extend well-beyond temperature, especially in terms of improved indoor air quality and its effect on your employee’s health and morale. For example, rather than recycling existing and contaminated air in the building,  the 100% outside air brought in by the evaporative cooling system achieves fresher, cleaner air for the workers inside the facility.

The investment of thermal comfort does more than meet a code standard, it signals to your employees that their leadership team cares for them. It increases employee morale and allows them to continue to work at their full capacities, increasing productivity and lowering turnover rate. You probably wouldn’t want to come to work in a 90-degree building on a hot summer day, so why expect your employees to?

4 Tips for Increasing Unit Efficiency 

Have an evaporative system installed? Let’s make sure you are running optimally.

  1. Perform maintenance on your evaporative cooler routinely. Clean the cooling pads, filters, reservoir, and pump at least once a month during the summer months. Maintaining your system will ensure it is operating at peak performance. 
  2. Evaporative coolers rely on temperature differences between the outside air and the wetted evaporative media. Run it during the warmest time of day to get the most out of your system.
  3. Evaporative media should be damp but not wet or dry.  Periodically ensure water levels are within manufacturer recommendations. 
  4. Building ventilation process loads and temperature conditions can vary. For maximum efficiency, ensure your unit is set to meet minimum ventilation requirements while monitoring building humidity levels so as to provide maximum temperature depression without over saturating the space with moisture. 

Come see for yourself

Cambridge Air Solutions Tours are available to answer any questions you may have about cooling your facility. Schedule a tour today to see our own evaporative cooling unit in action at our manufacturing facility and see how it provides cooler air to our facility in the St. Louis summers.

We all know that heating and indoor air quality play a significant factor in providing a happy and healthy work environment, and that yearly maintenance is necessary to keep those systems running efficiently.  

Jeff Hodge, a member of the Cambridge service team, has provided some simple tips for mid-year maintenance to your commercial or industrial HVAC unit.

End-of-Year Maintenance Tips

1. Filters - Service the filters as needed based on the “loading” experienced. Turn off the heater before servicing filters. Remove the filters from the filter section by opening the filter access door. Handle the filters carefully to prevent debris from being dislodged from the filter into the heater.

2. Check the belt - periodic belt adjustments help ensure the sustainability of the belt. If a belt is too tight, it can prematurely wear out the bearings and the belt. If the belt is too loose, it can slip or squeal. 

3. Check the discharge temperature - Use a wired thermistor at the mixing box to calibrate the system if necessary. 

4. Inspect the control panels - Look for loose or frayed wire connections and make sure all connections are tight. 

5. Perform a gas valve leak test - This will ensure the integrity of the valves. 

6. Grease the bearings – Dependent upon usage, your bearings may need to be regreased. The grease should be evenly distributed around the race. However, do not use the standard bearing grease in the Baldor motor. Instead, this motor takes special grease that can be referred to in the technical manual. 

7. Check and clean the evaporator and condenser coils - Dirty coils will drastically reduce cooling equipment efficiency and strain the compressor. 

8. Perform a gas valve leak test - This verifies the integrity of the valves.

9. Verify that the manifold differential gas pressure matches the nameplate.  It is extremely important that this is set up properly.  If the manifold pressure is incorrect, the heater temp rises and its efficiency will be affected.   

10. Inspect the direct evaporative media (CELdek) - Ensure that there is proper water flow across the media. 

11. Check the calibration of digital thermostats - Press the up arrow and hold it; the display should show 0F.  If not, the calibration may have been adjusted to show a warmer or cooler temperature than desired.

Additional Resources

It is important to achieve maximum efficiency from your commercial or industrial HVAC system. For more tips and instructions see our “How-To” videos, and with any further questions, please reach out to the Cambridge service team.

Reducing our own carbon footprint with solar panels and evaporative cooling

As part of our corporate social responsibility, we know we have to be stewards of our environment, and for nearly six decades, have invented and brought to market some of the most energy efficient HVAC technologies available in the manufacturing and distribution market segments. Our heatingevaporative cooling and ventilation technologies alone operate at 40%-65% savings versus traditional technologies.

Our systems make a big difference for each individual facility through operational cost savings, but the true environmental impact is when 55,000 of our facility installations compound for massive electrical and natural gas savings.

Complementing our own HVAC system performance, Cambridge sought out the opportunity to install solar panels in support of the energy reduction mission. Our CEO John Kramer says, “When the solar opportunity came about, I jumped on it because energy savings will have an impact on our business, on our community and on the world.” He went on to say, “Cambridge exists to enrich the lives of others and this move has an impact on future generations. Enriching lives is not just about the here and now. It has a longer-lasting impact.”

This also drove the decision to invest in an ESC-Series Evaporative Cooling unit to cool our building while using a fraction of the energy that traditional cooling methods use.

Our solar story

The Cambridge solar installation on our plant roof in Chesterfield, Missouri - consisting of 424 individual solar panels - is one of the largest solar installations in our city. On an average week, our panels yield 600 KWH, giving us the ability to cut down on our emissions drastically. Since the installation, the solar panels have saved 262 t of carbon from being emitted from our facility - equal to the yearly output of over 34 homes or 103 passenger vehicles. Moreover, the savings have amounted to around $2,200 a month in electrical savings and are enough to cover 10% of our total electric consumption.

Never Done Improving

Cambridge believes in continuous improvement, and we aim to find new and innovative ways to better our environment consistently. Whether through large projects such as solar panels or finding small ways each day. No matter the size of the project we are dedicated to enriching the lives of those around us and of generations to come.

As we look out over the next ten years, we will continue to share stories about energy transformation within manufacturing and distribution businesses. New technologies enable us to share building performance characteristics in real-time so that more leaders are inspired to change their working environments for their people while simultaneously serving their communities and the planet with energy footprint reductions. “This is my passion, and our leadership team is committed to it,” says Kramer.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a tour please contact sign up on our website or contact tlittle@cambridgeair.com.

A safe and healthy work environment benefits everyone committed to success. 

The ESC-Series evaporative cooling unit is a semi-custom fabricated air handler that can utilize direct (DEC), indirect (IEC) evaporative cooling, or a combination of both indirect/direct (2-Stage) evaporative cooling to meet specific usage and dimensional requirements. Heating options are also available. The evaporative cooling unit uses 100% outside air to provide tempered make-up air and building cooling. The ESC-Series unit is designed for industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings needing better indoor air quality without the equipment or operating costs associated with mechanical cooling.

Cambridge had the pleasure of hosting a virtual tour for the MAM's "Gearing Up" 2021 virtual conference. This video, led by Becca Jenkins, shows the improvements that we have made to one of our workstations and provides some insight into how a lean culture of continuous improvement looks.