ABB flowmeters save money at Virginia Commonwealth University

ABB flowmeters save money at Virginia Commonwealth University
August 17, 2010 – ABB’s Swirlmeter flowmeters have reduced annual steam losses in the generation plant of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, from 16 percent to 5 percent and enabled the plant to recover more than $1,275,000 a year in lost revenues.

The steam plant for the huge downtown campus generates steam for almost 60 buildings, including three hospitals, the governor’s mansion and a museum. Three identical boilers produce around 180,000 tons of steam a year.

During the 2006-07 fiscal season the plant generated almost 19,000 tons of steam but billed the various departments and building occupants for a little under 16,000 tons, a discrepancy of 16 percent.

Steam usage in each building was monitored by aging steam and condensate meters, which were no longer suitable for the task. After assessing the various alternative meters on the market, a leading flow control specialist recommended the installation of ABB’s new Swirlmeter flowmeters.

Most of the university buildings are old and lack the long steam runs required by many kinds of flowmeters. ABB Swirlmeters, on the other hand, require uniquely short straight sections of pipe before and after the metering location.

The Swirlmeters are part of ABB’s comprehensive range of flowmeters for liquids, gases and steam. They are highly accurate, have built-in temperature sensors, and automatically compute readings to indicate steam usage. These can either be taken manually or transmitted in real time to the site or building automation system.

ABB Swirlmeters are highly accurate, are easy and inexpensive to install due to their uniquely short requirements for straight pipe, and are maintenance-free (no moving parts)

To date about 40 of the campus buildings have been equipped with ABB Swirlmeters. With around 20 or so buildings yet to be fitted, the steam plant is expected to earn well in excess of the $1.25 million in annual revenues recovered so far.

With university departments keen to minimize their utility costs and reduce their carbon footprint, being billed correctly has increased their awareness of the need for energy conservation.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 117,000 people.

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