Chillers That Help Meet Carbon Neutral Goals

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Swarthmore College, established by the Society of Friends in 1864, has a long history of providing a transformative liberal arts education that empowers students to contribute to a better world. Central to the College’s commitment to addressing the pressing global climate crisis is its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035.

The college’s dedication to sustainability is deeply ingrained in its history of honoring the natural environment. By striving for carbon neutrality, Swarthmore is not only reducing its environmental impact but also setting a precedent for responsible stewardship among its students, staff, faculty, and the broader community.

To Zero By Thirty-Five: Swarthmore's Plan for Carbon Neutrality

Swarthmore’s journey towards carbon neutrality is carefully mapped out in its ambitious energy and utility plan, To Zero By Thirty-Five (20X35). This ambitious initiative prioritizes the delivery of reliable, cost-effective, and sustainable heating and cooling across the campus.

A major component of the 20X35 plan involves the replacement of aging heating and cooling systems with more energy-efficient alternatives. By continuing to upgrade its infrastructure, adopt renewable energy sources, and implement conservation practices, Swarthmore aims to significantly reduce its carbon footprint while enhancing operational efficiency. This effort will enable Swarthmore to transform its campus into a model of sustainability, inspire other institutions to prioritize environmental sustainability in their operations, and contribute to a more sustainable world. 

Replacing Steam Combustion Systems with Geothermal Solutions

John Daher, Sales Engineer at Coward Environmental Systems, Inc (CESI), discusses a key component of Swarthmore’s plan. “We’re providing heat recovery chillers from Smardt,” he explains. “Smardt is a world leader in green energy solutions. This installation allowed the college to replace a very old steam combustion system with an eco-friendly geothermal exchange system.”

Swarthmore’s Dining and Community Commons houses the chillers, pumps, and heat exchangers in a central geoexchange facility that will produce heating and cooling for campus buildings. This system is connected to geothermal wells, allowing Swarthmore to store the heat of summer for use in winter and the cold of winter for cooling during the summer,  all without utilizing carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

Operational Efficiency and Environmental Benefits

“Smardt’s heat recovery chillers operate year-round, producing chilled water and low temperature heating water as needed on-site,” Daher says. “The Smardt chillers we’ve provided will take the heat produced by the buildings and send it into the ground via geothermal wells, eliminating the need for water-intensive cooling towers.”

In addition to their efficiency, the chillers meet new, greener refrigerant requirements and are designed for redundancy, making them more reliable. Daher notes, “Smardt puts eight compressors on each chiller instead of relying on one huge compressor. This design allows for lower capacity operation when less cooling or heating is needed, making the chillers adaptable to variable flow rates.”

Phased Installation and Future Expansion

The new Smardt chiller is just one part of Swarthmore’s larger zero-carbon initiatives. The initial installation included two 750 ton Smardt Chillers, with plans to add two more as additional facilities are integrated into the centralized system. This phased approach allows Swarthmore to gradually transition to more sustainable heating and cooling solutions as its campus grows and evolves.

Learn More About Smardt Chillers

CESI proudly represents Smardt in Delaware, Maryland, and many Pennsylvania regions. If you want to incorporate eco-friendly Smardt chillers into your next project, contact us to learn more about their benefits and capabilities. Together, we can work towards a more sustainable future.