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Hydronic System Balancing and Domestic Booster Pumps


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Water systems can be a blind spot for savings

It’s easy to overlook the costs of powering the pumps for your building’s heating, cooling and water systems.

Today, most buildings using hydronic heating/cooling systems and cold water booster pumps employ “throttling/balancing valves” to compensate for over-sized distribution pumps. This means that the pumps are always running at full capacity while the output is being restrained by the valves. It’s like driving a car with the accelerator to the floor and using the brakes to control your speed!

Variable frequency drives (VFDs) control the speed of the motors to appropriate levels for the system’s immediate requirements. This can reduce electricity use by 30 to 50 per cent. Typically, it also reduces your maintenance costs since the pumps are running less.



Start with a system-wide audit


Big building, big savings potential

An energy audit will give the data you need to take action. Following your energy audit, we can advise on what to look for in a contractor and how to implement VFDs for these applications. We can also assist you in applying for incentives.


AUDIT FUNDING incentives pay 50 per cent, up to $25,000. Learn more >


Generally, this type of retrofit delivers the greatest returns in multi-storey buildings that require water on all floors. These include offices, hotels, multi-unit residential and institutional buildings.

It’s also beneficial in industrial buildings where water plays a bigger role in processes.

RETROFIT PROGRAM incentives pay up to 50 per cent of project costs. Learn more >

Payback as quick as four months, plus long-term maintenance reductions

Savings vary depending on the size of the facility. Using the estimated average Toronto building pump system size of 56 kW, electricity savings can be between $9,800 to $24,500 per year. Paybacks on installations range from two to four years but can be as quick as four months, depending on pump size.

Source: OEB Submission, Conservation and Demand Management  Program Application: Hydronic System Balancing Program (“HSBP”), January 10, 2011

For example, a recent project returned these results:


Source: Energy Efficiency for DCW Booster Systems, Ashish Sazena PDF presentation

Join the RETROFIT PROGRAM leaders

   View more case studies >

First Canadian Place hydronics project saves $542,220/yr in electricity costs

View full case study >


Chiller with variable frequency drives save Humber College $449,937 kWh/yr

View full case study >


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