When you make an equipment purchase, what — besides price, of course — influences what you buy and from whom? We’d all like to think that our buying choices, large and small, are based on good research and a judicious weighing of the costs and benefits of each option.

For instance, over the summer, I replaced my ancient but sound 2003 Chevy Malibu with a new vehicle. Since I prioritize maintaining an otherwise well-running vehicle over having the newest or latest model, I wanted the vehicle I selected to have sound reviews and to be equipped for potential future uses. And of course, I wanted to get the best possible deal while getting a car that appealed to me. To arrive at my final choice (a Jeep Cherokee), I spent a few months reviewing car specifications, comparing various models from many automakers, and test-driving more than a few. I am satisfied with my purchase and happy with my vehicle. Yet, since joining one of those ubiquitous Facebook groups for Jeep Cherokee, I’ll admit to moments of doubt. Reading some of the complaints makes me wonder whether my cost-benefit analysis was thorough enough. Did I accurately evaluate the total cost of ownership? (Time will tell, but on balance, I believe I did.)

Selecting process cooling equipment with an eye toward the total cost of ownership is the focus of an article by Raschell Hickmott of Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions. In “Select a Chiller Based on Total Cost of Ownership,” she notes that while the specifics that define the application vary, certain variables should be considered by every chiller buyer. These include current and future cooling capacity, available footprint for the chiller and heat-release considerations, and required maintenance and service needs.

Also in this issue, Mark Pfeifer of SPX Cooling Technologies offers insights into cold-weather operation of cooling towers. Though most of us are still enjoying temperate days and nights, winters chill will soon envelop the northern states in its chilly grip. By following some basic operating guidelines, Pfeifer says, cooling towers can be successfully operated year-round even in cold climates.

Finally, Josh Perry of Advanced Thermal Solutions Inc. explains how to use of cold plates in closed-loop liquid-cooling systems for electronics and circuit-board cooling in our cover story. Though a mature technology, cold plates are being called into service, alone or with a recirculating chiller, to provide direct, localized cooling for high powered modules.