Prospects for cool thermal storage in a competitive electric power industry

William P. Bahnfleth, Douglas T. Reindl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


During the 1980s and early 1990s, the use of cool thermal energy storage (TES) in commercial, institutional, and industrial facility air-conditioning systems became widespread in the United States. The growth of TES was driven by electric utility demand-side management (DSM) programs, which provided capital incentives and rate structures favorable to TES. The success of DSM and the pending deregulation of electric power production have all but eliminated external support for TES. Unless TES can adapt to the new economic climate, its use is likely to decline significantly. The market forces behind the TES boom and recent changes in these forces are reviewed. Strengths and weaknesses of TES are discussed relative to these redefined space conditioning market priorities. Potential future roles for TES are considered, and new developments in TES technology that may contribute to its sustainability are described. Although the future use of TES is likely to be focused more narrowly in its most competitive niches, it can survive and continue to play an important role in HVAC systems despite recent developments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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