Product Review

Energy-Efficient Water Coolers from Elkay and Halsey Taylor

Elkay hopes that the model will become a new standard-bearer for environmental responsibility. For durability and ease of cleaning Elkay is making the basins and cabinets from stainless steel and the frames from galvanized steel. But the substantive improvements will be found under the cabinet.

“We redesigned the refrigeration system to be as efficient as possible,”says Rod Magnuson, marketing manager at Elkay. The company purchased energy-efficient compressors that use non-ozone-depleting R-134a refrigerant, the industry standard, but Elkay fine-tuned these compressors, balancing the charge of the refrigerant under full-load conditions (using a continuous flow of water and warm ambient air) and no-load conditions (using different air temperatures and no water flow). The company then wrapped the cooling unit in EPS foam. The result is a unit that uses 7.7% less R-134 refrigerant than the industry average, according to the company, while improving the overall energy and water efficiency of the water cooler. “We couldn’t take the refrigerant level any lower without compromising [cooling] performance,” said Magnuson.

Published July 29, 2008