At the forefront of Going Green in the Air Conditioning Industry

Energy Saving

Does Coil Cleaning save energy?

O3 Chemicals Energy Saving

The short answer is yes, coil cleaning does save energy and it is worthwhile.

We have included an article published in the November 2006 ASHRAE Journal - Coil Cleaning Saves Energy:

This study looked at air handling units (AHUs) before and after coil cleaning to see what impacts coil cleaning had on energy savings.

Three key variables that added credibility to the study:

  • The AHUs were large enough to provide substantial data (both units over 30,000 CFM).
  • The AHUs were constant volume (not easy to find these days). It would have been difficult to quantify energy savings on Variable Air Volume (VAV) units.
  • The weather data was constant during reporting periods. The study looked at a huge building [34 stories] in downtown New York.

See the following results and conclusions:

  • Cleaning the AHU SF9 coil resulted in a decrease in the pressure drop across the coil, of approximately 14%. This resulted in a corresponding increase in airflow.
  • Cleaning the cooling coil in AHU SF9 resulted in an increase of 25.3% tons of cooling (on prior 81 tons of cooling). They estimated that 100 tons (352 kW) of cooling capacity would be added to the building once all four AHUs coils were cleaned. (Building had a total of 1,800 [6330 kW] tons available capacity.)
  • Cleaning the cooling coil increased the thermal efficiency of the cooling coil 25% with respect to its ability to transfer its energy to its sensible loads (10% with respect to latent loads).
  • Cleaning the cooling coil would continue to save energy by decreasing the load on the chiller plant, and making the heat transfer of this loading more efficient. It reduced the time of multiple chiller operation and its associated pumps, cooling towers, chemical costs, wear and tear, etc.
  • Restoration of the one air handler resulted in improvements that will lead to energy savings of up to $40,000 this year, in accordance with the results and assumptions of this study. (This would equate to the huge savings being achieved in Gateway Shopping Mall. See below).
  • After coil cleaning and regular maintenance, the HVAC systems are cleaner, and do not provide an environment for fungal, bacterial and microbial growth in their coils, ducts, and pipes.
  • Overall tenant satisfaction with the building environment has been improved as evidenced by the property manager's communications and positive feedback.
  • Conclusion: Good maintenance practices, including coil cleaning, can significantly improve energy efficiency (by as much as 10% to 15% as in this case).


We have an excellent example of a similar programme closer to home.

  • Ken Davidson, one of South Africa's outstanding Retail Facilities Managers, and a pioneer of the Going Green campaign in shopping malls, is the Senior Facilities Manager of Gateway - arguably the country's largest shopping mall.
  • Ken has developed a similar programme to the one above. His findings are that the pristine condition of the AHUs, in addition to the latest in chiller technology, which they have installed at the complex, is contributing to a saving of 10% of their monthly energy bill of R6, 000, 000. That's a massive R600,000 per month!!
  • Robert Britz, a master craftsman in air con maintenance, is the SFI Group Site Manager. He and his team drive the O3 Going Green programme at Gateway. They use a 1:1 dilution of the chemicals once a year, and a1:15 dilution whenever they find any dirt in a coil.
  • Ken estimates that 30% of the R600,000 can be attributed to O3 chemicals - a saving of R180,000 per month.
  • And SFI Group spent just R55,000 on O3 chemicals for the entire year to achieve these results!
  • In addition, because the O3 Going Green programme eliminates the traditional 3 cleans a year with water, there was a huge reduction in consumption of that precious commodity.
  • Furthermore, downtime has almost been completely eliminated.
  • The tenants are happy because their customers can shop in comfort in spite of Umhlanga's sky-high humidity in summer.
  • It's a no-brainer. It proves Going Green does'nt have to be expensive!