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Thermal Storage: 50 Years of the Engineers Newsletter

November 18, 2022


The changing of the seasons and approaching cold weather creates a perfect time to discuss a new way to use ice storage for the electrification of heat. And the timing is also very relevant, as US building owners can now take an investment tax credit for thermal energy storage systems!

Using thermal energy storage (TES) to shift cooling demand from on-peak to off-peak hours has been successfully implemented on thousands of projects over many decades. Thermal energy storage tanks are designed to last longer than chillers and current building automation systems help simplify operation for facility managers. A great review of common practices for applying thermal storage for cooling is provided in the Trane Ice Storage Systems Air Conditioning Clinic1 .

One past Engineers Newsletter on thermal energy storage for cooling (ADM-PN025-EN, September 2007) explains how it can impact high-performance building design. Using TES to shift cooling demand from on-peak to off-peak hours can help support customers’ cost, energy, and emissions goals. The lowest first-cost and smallest equipment size uses partial storage. Providing thermal energy storage greater than the minimum was shown to reduce energy costs. To simplify design and reduce time, equipment ratings for various size air-cooled chiller models/capacities is/are coupled with thermal energy storage capacity, piping, and pump sizes. Please refer to the Trane® Thermal Battery™ system catalog2 for more information.  

Covered in the upcoming Engineers Newsletter Live session, “ Electrification of Cooling and Heating with Thermal Energy Storage3“, this new use for thermal storage in heating, provides for the electrification of heat in a building and helps eliminate site fossil fuel emissions. Contact your local office for an in-person event in your area or register for our virtual option on January 11, 2023

A system completion module is also available to simplify design, as well as help reduce installation and commissioning time and risk, with several standard features and add-on options to simplify the design, installation, and commissioning. 

There is an estimated $216 billion in tax incentives for corporations to catalyze private investment in clean energy, transport and manufacturing4.  Projects with thermal energy storage can receive a six to fifty percent investment tax credit for the thermal energy storage system property being installed. In addition, tax-exempt entities can now take direct payment for the tax incentive.  There were also several key changes to the 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Thermal energy storage has been key in helping the environment for a long time, by reducing building peak demand and utilizing cleaner, off-peak energy.  And now, the stimuli are in place for even more energy flexibility and decarbonization for the future of commercial buildings.


1. Ice Storage Systems Air Conditioning Clinic (TRG-TRC019-EN)
2. Trane Thermal Battery™ Air-Cooled Chiller Plant system catalog (APP-PRC001*-EN)
3. Trane Engineers Newsletter Live program "Electrification of Cooling and Heating with Thermal Energy Storage" (launching in November, APP-CMC083-EN)

“Trane does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material is for informational purposes only and it should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. Tax law is subject to continual change. All decisions are your responsibility, and you should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors. Trane disclaims any responsibility for actions taken on the material presented.”

Kasey Boxleitner

About the author
Mike Filler, Thermal Energy Storage Solutions Leader

Mike Filler is the Solutions Leader for thermal storage based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  In this role, he supports Trane account managers and their customers for thermal storage projects.

He first joined Trane in 2000 to work with the Customer Direct Services (C.D.S.) department, supporting and training customers on the use of Trace™ 700 load design and energy simulation software.  Mike also worked as a Product Support Manager and Product Manager for screw and scroll chillers in Pueblo, Colorado. This is where his interest in thermal storage and applied heat recovery applications began.  Mike has also worked with other companies in the industry in sales and product application roles.

Mike has volunteered with ASHRAE® both on a local level as well as serving on technical committees – including TC 6.08 Geothermal Heat Pump and Energy Recovery Applications and TC 6.09 Thermal Storage.  Mike holds a PE in the state of Colorado and is an ASHRAE® certified High-performance Building Design Professional and is a recipient of the ASHRAE® Distinguished Service Award.