ComEd® Incentivizes Chiller & Process Cooling Efficiency


Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) provides electric service to more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.








The ComEd® Energy Efficiency Program offers incentives to help facilities save money by improving the efficiency of their equipment. Industries can receive standard cash incentives for common energy efficiency improvements or custom cash incentives for making improvements not included in the standard program.

Under the Future Energy Jobs Act, all ComEd commercial and industrial customers who had an account with a load below 10MW during the 12 months ending December 2017 are eligible for standard and custom incentives.

Standard, otherwise known as prescriptive incentives, are available to business customers for various items such as centrifugal, reciprocating, scroll or screw water-cooled chillers. They also focus on variable speed drives on HVAC chillers, HVAC fans or pumps under 200 HP and industrial process fans or pumps under 200 HP.

Thomas Johanson, the Program Manager at ComEd stated, “Custom incentives of up to $0.07/kWh of first-year savings are also available for improvements in system efficiency resulting in permanently reduced consumption.” ComEd also offers an Early Commitment option that pays $0.06 per kWh of estimated first-year savings as soon as the application is approved (only available for projects estimated to save greater than 500,000 kWh).

The early commitment incentive option provides a firm commitment to an incentive amount upon approval of the preapproval application. Once approved by ComEd the incentive amount will not change as long as the project has been verified as installed and commissioned.


Process Cooling Program Overview

The ComEd Energy Efficiency Program Process Cooling Study is available to qualifying customers within the ComEd service territory. The goals of this program are to help industries identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of their facility’s process cooling system and reduce energy costs without adversely affecting system operations. ComEd provides a one-time incentive payment of $0.07 per annual kWh saved after study recommendations are properly implemented and verified. Eligible annual kWh savings are determined through final measurement and verification activities. The total incentive will not exceed the total implementation and incremental costs for improvements recommended in the study.


Minimum Commitment for the Process Cooling Study

Once accepted into the program, the client must agree to provide access to the facility while providing time for facility personnel to interface with the service provider during all phases of the project. They must also provide and assist with reporting and collection of information pertaining to the operation of the industrial system during all phases of the project. “Lastly, they must confirm the minimum installed capacity is at least 500 tons and agree to spend at least $15,000 on the implementation of measures identified through the study,” added Johanson, “with an estimated total project simple payback of 1.5 years or less based upon energy savings and estimated cash incentives.”

Johanson continued by clarifying The Process Cooling Study portion will be considered complete when the industry’s commitment is met, and the mutually accepted study measures are fully installed and verified, or 120 days from the industry receiving the final version of the Investigation Study Report. “If additional time is needed to complete implementation, a request may be submitted by the industry,” said Johanson.


Specifications for Water and Air-Cooled Chillers for HVAC Cooling

  1. This incentive is only applicable to systems used for space cooling. Process cooling systems are not eligible for this incentive.
  2. Must have a rated kW/ton for the Integrated Part Load Value (IPLV) that is less than or equal to the qualifying efficiency.
  3. Efficiency rating must be based on AHRI Standard 550/590 (I-P)-2011 for IPLV conditions and not based on full-load conditions.
  4. Must meet AHRI standards 550/590-2003 and be UL listed.
  5. Refrigerant must comply with local codes.
  6. The AHRI net capacity value should be used to determine the chiller tons.
  7. A manufacturer’s specification sheet with the rated kW/ton-IPLV or COP-IPLV and nominal tonnage must accompany the application.

Figure 1

 *Efficiency bonus is paid for an efficiency rating above the qualifying efficiency. The bonus is $3.50 per 0.01 kW/ton IPLV for water- and air-cooled chillers.

Project 1

Tangent Technologies Comprehensive Process Cooling Study

As one of the leading manufacturers of hi-tech plastic lumber, Tangent Technologies runs 24/7, using energy around the clock. One of its largest uses of electricity involves removing heat from production processes. With a goal of increasing efficiency, cutting costs and lowering environmental impact, Tangent Technologies decided to pursue a ComEd Energy Efficiency Program Comprehensive Process Cooling Study. Plant Manager Ralph Holmes says, “We were looking at our chiller capacity when we were approached by the program about understanding our energy use. We recognized the opportunity to take our analysis to a whole new level through an energy study.”


The study provided a detailed analysis of Tangent Technologies’ process cooling system and energy consumption. This information was then used to design a cooling optimization plan that would positively affect system operations, identifying opportunities for capital upgrades, low-cost and no-cost projects. Estimated energy savings, project costs and incentives were calculated for each recommendation.

Tangent Technologies implemented the following recommendations from the Comprehensive Process Cooling Study:

  • Installed thermostatic control valves on each of the 20 production lines to regulate flow and eliminate overcooling
  • Installed two new high-efficiency 120-ton chillers
  • Optimized chilled water set points
  • Insulated chilled water lines
  • Re-configured chilled water system from constant-speed, primary-secondary to variable-speed, primary-only
  • Installed two 165-ton dry coolers for supplemental cooling in the winter

Image 1

Project Snapshot

Customer Tangent Technologies

Cost funded by the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program $16,000

Implementation cost paid by customers $372,676

Estimated annual energy savings 943,425 kWh

Estimated annual cost savings $70,757*

Incentive received $66,040

Estimated payback period without incentive 7 years

Estimated payback period with incentive 5.8 years

*Estimated annual cost savings are based on an electricity rate of $0.075 per kWh.


Tangent Technologies received incentives totaling $66,040 from the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program after implementing the recommendations. The business is now more energy efficient and saves an estimated $70,757 in energy costs annually. Holmes states, “Once the physical changes were completed, we started seeing the difference in our energy costs. We also gained greater reliability and redundancy.” Participating in the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program study has given Tangent Technologies a better understanding of its process cooling system and identified improvement opportunities that have led to a measurable reduction in energy usage.


Project 2

Tredegar - The Big Chiller Optimization

As an international manufacturer of plastic films and aluminum extrusions, Tredegar is known for everything from diapers to high-value electronic components. Not surprisingly, producing such a wide range of products comes with a high-energy cost—most notably at the company’s two-building campus in Lake Zurich, Illinois. The two aging facilities operate 24/7, with over 220,000 sq. ft and six chillers between them. Already familiar with ComEd’s Energy Efficiency Program, Tredegar’s Global Director of Environmental Health and Safety reached out to the program to identify cost-saving opportunities.


Project Snapshot

Customer Tangent Technologies

Measures Processed cooling assessment and Upgrades

Project cost $28,068

Estimated annual energy savings 324,848 kWh

Estimated annual cost savings $24,364*

ComEd incentive received $22,739

Estimated payback period without incentives 1.2 years

Estimated payback period with incentives 3 months

*Estimated annual cost savings are based on an electricity rate of $0.075 per kWh.


After a comprehensive study of the two facilities’ process cooling systems, an Energy Advisor provided Tredegar with a report full of energy-saving recommendations. The company moved forward with several cost-effective cooling system upgrades, including resetting the chiller condenser water temperature, adjusting and repairing the air-side economizer operation, improving the tower pump staging process, and installing a variable frequency drive and controls in the cooling tower.


ComEd provided Tredegar with $22,739 in incentives, covering over 81 percent of the project costs. The chiller upgrades are also estimated to save nearly 325,000 kWh a year, cutting the facilities’ annual energy costs by $24,739. Thanks to the savings, Tredegar’s investment in the project paid off in just three months.


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The ComEd Energy Efficiency Program is funded in compliance with state law.