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Thermal energy storage works by collecting, storing, and discharging heating and cooling energy to shift building electrical demand to optimize energy costs, resiliency, and or carbon emissions. Liken it to a battery for your HVAC system. It gives you the ability to store and recover thermal energy, as well as charge or discharge based on operational needs, utility rates/programs, availability of renewable resources, etc.
Thermal energy storage can also be used in conjunction with other comprehensive energy services, like active energy management to further optimize your energy supply and demand, essentially turning your building into a virtual power plant.
Trane Thermal Energy Storage
Benefits of Thermal Energy Storage
Thermal energy storage is a reliable, cost-effective solution for off-setting the inevitable utility peaks during periods of high-demand. But that’s not all. Here are some of most impactful benefits of thermal energy storage for commercial buildings:
Lower cooling and heating costs
Improve grid and building resiliency
Support renewable energy sources like wind and solar
Ability to participate in grid capacity and demand limit revenue programs
How does Thermal Energy Storage help with Energy Efficiency?
Thermal energy storage helps with energy efficiency because it allows you to consume energy at the most cost effective times of the day. Electricity generation and transmission is usually more efficient at night when efficient base load generation is being used and ambient temperatures are lower. Reducing peak demand by using the stored heating or cooling can eliminate the use of inefficient utility peaking generators.
Trane’s easy-to-integrate thermal storage tanks are designed to optimize building loads and reduce operating costs for a variety of infrastructures. Compatible with pre-packaged system designs and an expected 40 years of uselife life, our thermal storage tanks serve as powerful, long-term solutions for your sustainability needs. Explore our energy storage tanks below.
Ideal for larger commercial and institutional buildings, these versatile second-generation tanks make siting and installation easy. Designed with a 20% smaller footprint requirement, Model C tanks can be bolted together to eliminate external piping and reduce installation time and costs.
Since its introduction in 1979, our Classic Model A tank has endured as the “gold standard” for thermal energy storage. Designed for seamless individual connection with distribution piping, the CALMAC Model A tank is ideal for smaller installations.
Thermal Energy Storage Systems
Trane offers a portfolio of complete thermal energy storage systems built on Trane's exprtise in chillers, energy storage tanks, ice plant and building controls, and service. These Thermal Battery™ Energy Storage systems will help you manage energy costs, decarbonize and achieve better resilency.
Trane Thermal Battery systems are chiller plants that charge (store energy) whenever energy rates drop or excess / renewable power is available, and discharge (use power) when energy rates spike or during periods of high demand / capacity. The result is a more resilient, sustainable, self-sufficient operation with lower utility bills.
While thermal energy storage may provide an ideal solution, designing a thermal energy storage system can require some special considerations to maximize its value. Benefits: Provides a streamlined user experience. Ideal for: Air-cooled chiller plants. Engineers focused on reducing risk and engineering cost. Building owners focused on simple monitoring solutions.
Ideal for Contractors and Facility Operators who value simplicity and reliability, The CALMAC Glycol Management System (GMS) makes solution mixing easy by maintaining the proper volume of coolant in a building circulating loop. It allows for quicker startup, less downtime and extended system performance.
The CALMAC Plate Heat Exchanger is ideal for avoiding cross-contamination in confined spaces. Designed to carefully transfer thermal energy between two dissimilar fluids, this high-efficiency, low-maintenance product provides a close temperature approach for even the highest working pressures.
Thermal Energy Storage vs Electricity Storage
Buildings have thermal and electric loads and will benefit by storing both forms of energy. While electrochemical batteries are the more widely-known method of energy storage, they are really designed to store electricity specifically.
For maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness, it’s important to store energy in the same form in which it will be consumed. That means using electrochemical storage to meet electric loads and thermal energy storage for thermal loads. Here’s quick breakdown to help further distinguish between the two methods:
Thermal Energy Storage
Stores thermal energy, mainly for heating and cooling
Turnkey project is saving $765,000 in annual operating expenses, generating a 25 percent internal rate of return and avoiding 6.1 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions -- the equivalent of removing 560 cars from the road, or planting 828 acres of trees.
A Trane Ice-Enhanced Air-Cooled Chiller Plant has allowed the Jefferson Community College to nearly double its cooling capacity while decreasing utility costs. Efficient system provides the college with load shifting flexibility to help manage peak demand, avoid a costly electrical substation upgrade, and take advantage of lower cost off-peak electricity.
Thermal energy storage system enabled the courthouse to save 26 percent in energy costs or more than $100,000 annually. The redesigned Kings County Courthouse also met the county’s objective to achieve LEED Silver certification.